Coronavirus: Islington’s first walk-through testing site will finally open at the Sobell Centre

People pass a COVID-19 test centre sign at a walk-through testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/

People pass a COVID-19 test centre sign at a walk-through testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA

Islington’s first coronavirus testing site should be fully operational by Sunday – following calls from the council for a local centre.

Sobell Leisure Centre carpark. Picture: Google maps

Sobell Leisure Centre carpark. Picture: Google maps - Credit: google

The walk-through site in the Sobell Leisure Centre car park off Tollington Road in Hornsey will be open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, for the next six months.

Negotiations to set it have been ongoing for weeks - but last week the Gazette reported the council had come up against “red tape and delay”.

Council leader Richard Watts spoke of his frustration the site identified weeks ago was still not operational despite ongoing talks with Deloitte, the government agent running the testing service.

The testing site is in the leisure centre’s car park, and the leisure centre remains open.

Tests must be booked through the national coronavirus website – - or by dialling 119, and the site will not accept people who turn up without booking.

There is no parking on site for people attending for tests, and people are asked to travel there on foot, or by bicycle or motorcycle, and not by public transport.

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The council’s safety chief, Cllr Sue Lukes, said: “Our top priority is keeping our residents safe and supported throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve been calling for a local testing site so it’s easier for local people to get a test. It’s vital our residents can get tests so we can trace cases, stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“Islington’s first testing site is a step in the right direction. We will very closely monitor how the site is working, and if our residents are now able to easily get the tests they need to keep everyone safe.”

Up until September 20 there were an average of eight cases a day in Islington.

But since that time - despite many people having problems accessing tests - cases have now risen to an average of about 15 a day.

The council wants to reassure people the test site does not pose an increased risk of catching coronavirus, and that it will comply with clinically approved standard operating procedures and infection control protocols.

Everyone who attends the site must wear a mask, and social distancing measures will be in place.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, which are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, should be tested.