Cutty Sark Christmas tree
Tests will be taking place in Greenwich over Christmas

Greenwich borough residents who are not showing coronavirus symptoms can now book fast, free tests to see if they have Covid-19.

The community testing scheme is operating out of the borough’s two University of Greenwich campuses; in Greenwich town centre and at Avery Hill.

People without symptoms can book a test at the Greenwich Council website. Results will be sent by text within 30 minutes.

Those showing symptoms should go through the standard testing service at or call 119.

The start of the community testing programme comes six weeks after the health secretary first promised the lateral flow tests to Greenwich as well as its neighbours in Lewisham, Bexley and Bromley. Greenwich is the first of the four to start offering the tests.

Of 532 people without symptoms tested yesterday, 31 tested positive.

I was one of them. It was a doddle.

— Hel (@helstweets) December 21, 2020

That six weeks has seen coronavirus cases surge in south-east London with a high-profile row between Greenwich and the government over closing schools.

It is hoped that public health teams will get a better idea of the spread of coronavirus through offering the tests. As of this morning, tests in Greenwich were mostly booked up until Tuesday 29 December, with the Avery Hill centre booked up to Christmas Day. Two more centres are planned for elsewhere in the borough.

According to Public Health England figures issued yesterday, there were 507 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Greenwich borough in the seven days to 16 December – double the previous week’s figure. Lewisham was on 475 (up 156 per cent), while Bexley was on 739 (up 137 per cent). Havering recorded the highest rate in London, with 1,061 people per 100,000 testing positive.

A week on from the row over school closures, the rate among 10-14 year-olds in Greenwich was 452 per 100,000 on 16 December (up from 325; 31 per cent); and 636 (up from 408; 55 per cent) among 15-19 year-olds.

853 produces public interest journalism for Greenwich and SE London and is part-funded by its readers. If you would like to help keep it running, become a member:

  • Join us on Steady at – donate monthly amounts in pounds
  • Find us on PressPatron at – donate monthly or annual amounts in pounds
  • We’re also on Patreon at – donate monthly amounts in dollars

Thank you for your support – the site would not exist without it.