Covid: Are PCR test centres open on today? Why could you not book PCR tests in England earlier? Will they be shut on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day? Will there be reduced hours? How can you book one?

CHRISTMAS is here and you might be spending the day mingling with your loved ones.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 4:06 pm
PCR test. Picture Getty Images.
PCR test. Picture Getty Images.

But the Omicron wave is well under way and cases continue to be confirmed at record rates.

If you are suddenly feeling any symptoms over the festive period, you will want to get tested to make sure it isn’t Covid.

But as today is a bank holiday will PCR test sites remain open?

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Read More

Read More
Revealed: The number of staff off work due to Covid at Hampshire hospitals inclu...

Here’s what you need to know:

Why could you not book PCR tests in England earlier?

There were no walk-in PCR tests available to book in England for a few hours on Monday due to ‘high demand’.

Appointments had been unavailable in every region of the country earlier this afternoon, but have since become available again.

the UK Health Security Agency saying the reduced availability was merely “temporary”.

A UKHSA spokesperson said: ‘Appointments for PCR tests are available but high demand can lead to temporarily reduced availability in some areas. More appointments are made available for people to book every afternoon.

‘Testing is playing an integral role in keeping people safe and managing the spread of Covid-19.

‘We are very grateful to everyone who is following the Government’s guidance and getting tested to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.

‘Everyone with symptoms or who is directed to get a PCR test should continue to come forward to get a test delivered to their home or at a test site.’

A paramedic, named Ethan, from Southampton, said he had been ‘fuming’ over initial fears he could miss work after waking up with Covid symptoms.

Can you get a PCR test today?

All test sites will remain open, the government saying with booking slots available on bank holidays and New Year’s Day.

Test site operating hours may be extended if there is increased demand for PCR testing.

People will be able to order LFD and PCR tests every day over the festive period.

The 119 service will continue to operate on New Year’s Eve from 7am to 6pm, and New Year’s Day from 7am to 5pm. On other days, the service will operate from 7am to 11pm.

In some cases, tests may take slightly longer than usual to arrive due to Royal Mail’s collection and delivery times over the festive period.

NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will also continue to work throughout the festive period, with services provided online through the self-service process on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA, said: ‘The vital work of NHS Test and Trace will not stop for Christmas. I am very grateful to every single member of our staff who, right through the pandemic, have been part of our front line services against the pandemic. They will be sacrificing time with their loved ones to make sure testing and tracing continues, with minimal disruption to our services during the festive season.

‘With COVID-19 cases currently at record levels, we must continue with precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

‘If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and take a PCR test as soon as possible. If you do not have symptoms, please take an LFD test before visiting vulnerable friends and family, and before situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on the virus. Continue to keep practising hands, face, space and increase ventilation when you are meeting indoors.

‘It remains vital to follow the guidance and make sure to take up the offer of a vaccine.’

When should you book a PCR test?

On the government’s website it says: ‘Please book a PCR test if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have tested positive following an LFD test.’

How can you book a test?

You can book a test online by clicking this link here or by calling 119.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.