To receive a test for coronavirus, you must book an appointment or order an at-home testing kit. Before attending any test centre, you must book an appointment through the government testing portal or telephone booking. You must get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms. If you do not have symptoms and have not been advised to get a test by a doctor, a public health professional or by us, you should not get a test.
Testing in Redbridge
If you need a test in Redbridge, you can book an appointment to visit one of two permanent walk-through testing facilities, or order a home testing kit.
We now have two permanent 7 days a week coronavirus testing facilities in the borough:
Mildmay Road Car Park
Please visit the Mildmay testing centre page for full information on getting tested.
Gants Hill Library Car Park
Please visit the Gants Hill Library testing centre page for full information on getting tested.
Please book an appointment before attending both centres.
Who can apply
If you have symptoms but are not a key worker
Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms can ask for a test.
Check if you have coronavirus symptoms on the NHS website.
If you are an essential worker or based in a care home
You can apply for a coronavirus test on GOV.UK if you:
- are an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
- are applying for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
- have a verification code from your employer
Who should not apply
- Schools should not advise pupils or teachers to take a test unless they exhibit one or more of the listed symptoms. If there is a confirmed case then schools should not advise entire classes or year groups to get tested. Only those with symptoms or those advised by their clinician or Local Authority should get a test. Schools must not require students without symptoms to provide evidence of a negative test before letting them back to school.
- Employers: you should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace. You can also help by communicating the guidance around testing to your staff.
- Travel companies: you should not be directing clients to NHS Test and Trace to get a test for anything related to overseas travel.
When to get tested
You need to get tested within the first five days of developing symptoms to be effective.
Only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested by a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council. The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
When you shouldn't get tested
- Do not use this service to get a test in order to travel to another country. We do not provide certificates for travel purposes. You can pay for a private test.
- If your employer, school, or travel company has asked for evidence of a negative coronavirus test result, we are unable to provide this service. You should only get tested if you have symptoms.
- If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then they must get tested and the rest of your household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested. Most people who are tested in person get their results the next day. Full guidance on self-isolation is available on gov.uk.
- If you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the period of time that you will be required to self-isolate.
- If you have been abroad and are quarantining, you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the period of time that you will be required to quarantine.
- Do not stockpile tests. If you develop symptoms in future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test in case of future use.
What the test is
The test for coronavirus involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat using a long cotton bud. It tests if you currently have coronavirus.
If you test positive you must share information about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service.
The options for testing are:
- Home test kits
- Drive through test centres around London
- Walk-through test centres
- Temporary Mobile Test Units
You can book a test online or via your employer. If you book through your employer, only the drive-through test centre option is available.
Mobile testing units are operating across London. Slots are limited but if you are eligible, you can apply and book a slot at the nearest available unit.
If you have any questions or need more information, visit the government's testing pages or contact the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre.
- Telephone: 0300 303 2713 (open daily, 8am to 8pm)
Apply for a test
Apply to get tested online.
You will apply for a test by providing your name and telephone number. If you are applying as an essential worker, you will be asked why you are getting tested.
You will then receive a text message confirming if you have been allocated a slot for a COVID-19 test and you will receive a link to an appointment booking form.
If you are unable to book online or have difficulty with the online portal, you can ring 119 to book your test.