Community rapid testing vans introduced in Bristol

Community rapid testing vans introduced in Bristol

Two community lateral flow (rapid) testing vans have hit the streets of Bristol today (Monday 2 August) to make testing more accessible for residents and increase uptake.

2 August 2021

With cases of COVID-19 still high in Bristol, and the lifting of the majority of legal restrictions across England, making sure everybody has access to regular rapid tests has never been more important.

The vans will be visiting specific areas in south, north, and central Bristol, and, while available to everyone, Bristol City Council is keen to encourage uptake from people with disabilities, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and areas of deprivation.

Both testing vans will be operating for five days this week from 9am to 5pm, and operation will likely increase to seven days moving forwards once rotas are confirmed.

You can find the times and locations of the vans this week (commencing Monday 2 August) on our local authority website.

There will be two testing assistants and one driver per van. Testing assistants cannot administer the swabs to people directly but can supervise and answer any queries people may have when testing. Residents do not need to book in advance.

Those receiving rapid tests can either take them at the van or collect tests to take at home.

Bristol’s Director for Communities and Public Health, Christina Gray, said: “Although the majority of legal COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted, this does not mean the risk of the virus has gone away.

“Case numbers in Bristol are currently very high. Thanks to the vaccine, fewer people are seriously ill in hospital, but hospitalisations are rising. An increasing number of people are reporting the effects of ‘long COVID’. Our frontline NHS and health staff are under considerable pressure and there is an impact on our businesses.

“In Bristol, we're encouraging people to continue to do the most they can to protect themselves, one another, our frontline and public-facing workers and our vulnerable communities. Taking regular, rapid tests, reporting the results (whether the result is positive or negative) and self-isolating when required will reduce the spread of the virus, ease the pressure on our NHS and protect our family and friends, even if we are double vaccinated. We have found uptake of rapid testing to be lower within certain communities so we hope the vans will increase accessibility and ease of testing to all.

“Now, more than ever, we need to do everything we can to look out for one another. We need to be kind and respectful towards one another, continuing behaviours that will keep us all safe. A huge thank you to everyone who has already been playing their part. You are making a difference.”

In addition to the vans, there are plenty of other ways to access rapid tests in Bristol, including at our rapid testing centre on Wellington Road or at local leisure centres. You can find more information about rapid testing at:

If you receive a positive rapid test result from a rapid test, you must self-isolate at home and book a free confirmatory PCR test on GOV.UK or by calling 119. 

Support is available if you need to self-isolate. Check if you are eligible for an NHS Test and Trace Support Payment on our website. You can also find a range of mental health support services on our website.

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