Over 130,000 rapid tests handed out in Bristol

Over 130,000 rapid tests handed out in Bristol

Since December 2020, 134,987 rapid test kits have been distributed to residents in Bristol.

a rapid testing centre in bristol


Tests have been collected from the Bristol Rapid Test Centre on Wellington Road, mobile testing vans, libraries, and community centres, and have helped to keep the city safe during the pandemic.

In line with the national strategy for living with COVID-19, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing ends today (Thursday 31 March). This means that people can no longer collect free rapid tests or book a PCR test at a local testing site. 

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “One of the most important interventions during the pandemic has been the local roll out of asymptomatic lateral flow (rapid) tests through the community testing schemes. The ease and convenience with which people all over Bristol have been able to access tests has meant that people can continue working and living their lives, knowing they are less likely to be putting others at risk. 

“I’m so pleased by Bristol’s response to testing; it is a testament to our strong spirit and kindness. People have been and continue to do what they can to protect themselves and others and encourage the people around them to follow safe behaviours as well. I know people will be anxious as we approach 1 April, but I want to remind everyone there are still simple actions we can all take to protect each other; getting vaccinated, regular hand washing, keeping indoor spaces ventilated and staying at home if you’re unwell.”  

Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Bristol One City said: “I would like to thank everyone in Bristol who continues to take part in the community testing programmes, but also to all of those organisations and staff who have dedicated their time, resources and facilities for people in Bristol to be able to access tests quickly and safely. 

“In particular I want to thank all of those involved in the running of the Bristol Rapid Test Centre on Wellington Road, which has become a central hub for the community testing programme over the last 15 months. Not only have residents and essential workers been able to pick up boxes of rapid tests at the site, but friendly staff have also been on hand to help those who find testing an anxious or unpleasant experience. The site has also become a weekly walk-in vaccination clinic, and I know it has a bright future ahead.”

Bristol’s mobile testing vans, libraries and community centres have used the Bristol Rapid Test Centre as a distribution and stocks hub, helping them to get rapid tests into our communities that needed them the most.

Ben Hardy, Managing Director at REM, a Bristol-based events management company, that delivered the community testing programmes across the city, said: “Running the community testing programme has been a challenging yet rewarding experience from ensuring that teams were stringently trained in the medical procedures through to branding up testing vans which were eye-catching and approachable for the public. It was great to be able to bring a huge number of events professionals back to work to support the project and work alongside the councils to ensure safety of our communities.”

Whilst the free provision of both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing ends today for the general public, the government has announced that free COVID-19 testing will still be in place for certain people. These include patients in hospital and people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Testing will also be available to people who live or work in closed, high-risk settings, where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimise outbreaks.

For more information about the national living with COVID-19 strategy and the latest updates on testing visit GOV.UK.

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