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Covid-19 testing sites now closed

News update

The Covid-19 testing sites at Blaydon Leisure Centre, Prince Consort Road and opposite Greenbanks Health Centre are now closed and will be removed within the next few months.

As part of the government's plan for living with Covid, free PCR testing is no longer available to the general public. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now working with local authorities to remove over 550 testing sites across the country and it's expected that the site at Blaydon Leisure Centre will be removed within a month, followed by the remaining two sites by the end of summer at the latest.

The provision of free lateral flow testing kits for the general public has also ended. However, certain groups can continue to access free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, including hospital inpatients and some NHS and social care workers.

Read more on who can access free Covid-19 tests from April 2022 and how to get them.

We will continue to work closely with UKHSA and other partners to ensure that testing capabilities can be scaled back up if needed, for example, if a new variant of concern emerges.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, said: "Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and the development of anti-viral treatments for the most vulnerable, we have now reached the point where we can start to manage Covid-19 like other respiratory infections.

However, the end of the public testing programme does not mean that the pandemic is over and there are still things that we can all do to keep each other safe. Please make sure you're up to date with your vaccinations and if you don't feel well, stay at home as much as you can. This will help protect others, not just from Covid but from other viruses too.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in delivering the NHS Test and Trace programme, particularly Gateshead Council staff who were redeployed from their usual roles. Thanks also to our communities for your support and understanding. I appreciate that the impact of our Covid response on our other services has been frustrating, but the health and wellbeing of our residents must come first and the process of testing, tracing and isolating has undoubtedly saved lives. We are working to free up our testing sites for their usual purposes as soon as possible and thank you for your patience in the meantime."

News update
01 April 2022

The Covid-19 testing sites at Blaydon Leisure Centre, Prince Consort Road and opposite Greenbanks Health Centre are now closed and will be removed within the next few months.

As part of the government's plan for living with Covid, free PCR testing is no longer available to the general public. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now working with local authorities to remove over 550 testing sites across the country and it's expected that the site at Blaydon Leisure Centre will be removed within a month, followed by the remaining two sites by the end of summer at the latest.

The provision of free lateral flow testing kits for the general public has also ended. However, certain groups can continue to access free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, including hospital inpatients and some NHS and social care workers.

Read more on who can access free Covid-19 tests from April 2022 and how to get them.

We will continue to work closely with UKHSA and other partners to ensure that testing capabilities can be scaled back up if needed, for example, if a new variant of concern emerges.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, said: "Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and the development of anti-viral treatments for the most vulnerable, we have now reached the point where we can start to manage Covid-19 like other respiratory infections.

However, the end of the public testing programme does not mean that the pandemic is over and there are still things that we can all do to keep each other safe. Please make sure you're up to date with your vaccinations and if you don't feel well, stay at home as much as you can. This will help protect others, not just from Covid but from other viruses too.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in delivering the NHS Test and Trace programme, particularly Gateshead Council staff who were redeployed from their usual roles. Thanks also to our communities for your support and understanding. I appreciate that the impact of our Covid response on our other services has been frustrating, but the health and wellbeing of our residents must come first and the process of testing, tracing and isolating has undoubtedly saved lives. We are working to free up our testing sites for their usual purposes as soon as possible and thank you for your patience in the meantime."

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