Havering's secondary school pupils and staff urged to get Covid tests

Secondary school pupils in a classroom

Secondary school pupils in seven London boroughs are set to get coronavirus tests. - Credit: Jacob King/PA

Havering Council has called on secondary school staff and pupils to take a coronavirus test even if they are asymptomatic as rates in the borough continue to remain among the highest in the country.

It was announced last week that Havering's case rate was among the top 10 worst in England.

The borough is one of seven in London to be involved in the initiative, which aims to get Covid levels under control among the school-age population. It is also being rolled out in parts of Essex and Kent.

Councillor Damian White, leader of Havering Council, said: “Testing people who do not have Covid symptoms helps us identify where the disease is spreading and also helps to identify people who may be carrying and spreading the disease without knowing it.”

“This is crucial now as Christmas approaches and families look forward to mixing and meeting.

“We are also aware that rates in young people have been increasing particularly quickly and that’s why our focus for this sort of testing is secondary school staff, pupils and their families."

Tests will be available on a first come, first served basis with those attending asked to bring a smartphone with them if they own one to make the process as quick as possible.

The initiative was announced last week and came after the Department of Health and Social Care warned Covid-19 cases in certain areas of England - including east London - have been rising rapidly, with the fastest rates among those aged 11 to 18.

Pupils, staff and family members were able to get tested from Saturday, December 11 at sites including outside the front of Havering Town Hall and car parks in Dorrington Gardens, Hornchurch and Viking Way, Rainham. Further locations are expected to be announced early this week.

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Anyone who takes a test must self-isolate until they receive a negative result - and if the result is positive, must continue to stay at home and follow government guidance.

Anyone who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of sense of taste or smell, can book a coronavirus test at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

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