Bristol Testing for the new variant of Coronavirus – does it affect you?

Bristol Testing for the new variant of Coronavirus – does it affect you?

From today (Sunday 7 February) Bristol introduced extra community testing, also known as ‘surge’ testing, to help us learn more about the Kent COVID-19 variant that has mutated in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. 

This extra community testing will act to help reduce the spread of infection by finding asymptomatic cases and prompting people to self-isolate. The
one-off testing will use PCR tests, which are analysed in laboratories, rather than lateral flow tests (also known as rapid tests).  

This testing is available to people living in specific postcodes and is running for two weeks from today (Sunday 7 February). It is open to those aged 16 and over, who do not have any symptoms of

The testing programme includes new mobile testing units (also known as MTUs), which are sites where you can drive-through or walk-up to take a test. There will soon also be locations where people can collect and return testing kits and the delivery of testing kits to homes in certain areas. 

Freephone 0800 694 0184.
Mon – Fri, 8.30am to 5pm.
Sat – Sun, 10am to 2pm.

Email your questions to

Visit the Council website for the latest information. 


Mutated = changed into something different.

Asymptomatic = infected but has no symptoms.

Together with South Gloucestershire Council – and only since Friday night when the Government confirmed it wanted Bristol City Council to launch this extra testing – its staff teams in the community and partner agencies in public health have been working really hard to get these systems set up quickly and effectively for residents.

The Mayor Rees said,
“I understand that some of you may be feeling concerned or anxious about this new testing, and I want to reassure all of you that the actions we’re taking are to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
“Today, just 36 hours after we first found out that testing was needed, over 2,000 tests were carried out across all three sites. To those who attended, I would like to thank you for responding so positively and in some cases being prepared to wait whilst we worked to meet demand.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone for playing their part in helping to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our city. The sites will be back open at 9am tomorrow morning.”
There is nothing to be worried about if you live in one of the areas were testing is happening, we should just keep on doing what we are already doing – keeping to all the national lockdown rules:
⦁ Washing our hands thoroughly and often,
⦁ Keeping at least 2 metres space between ourselves and anyone else, and
⦁ covering our face – especially our nose and mouth. 

Postcode sectors
You can get tested at the new asymptomatic testing sites if your postcode starts with: 

BS1 3

BS2 0, BS2 8, or BS2 9  

BS3 5

BS4 4
BS5 0, BS5 6, or BS5 7
BS6 5, or BS6 6

BS8 2, or BS8 3 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check yours at  

BS9 4

BS14 9, or BS14 0 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check yours at   

BS16 1, BS16 2, BS16 3, BS16 5, BS16 6, BS16 7, or BS16 9

BS37 8. 

New mobile testing units 

Who are they for? 
If you are over-16, live in one of the postcodes above, and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can get a COVID-19 test at one of the new mobile test sites.

Where and when? 
Extra community testing is running from Sunday 7 February, for two weeks.

There are three new test sites: 

  1. Bristol and Bath Science Park, Dirac Crescent, Emersons Green, BS16 7FR, 9am – 4pm.
  2. Bristol City Council Testing Centre, 17-18 Wellington Road, BS2 9DA,
    9am – 3pm.
  3. Imperial Retail Park, Hartcliffe Way, BS13 7TJ – 9am – 3pm.

At the test site you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing. For now, you do not need to book or to bring ID or proof of address. 

Frequently Asked Questions 
Q. Do I need to book a slot? 
You do not need to book an appointment, although the Council may introduce a booking system soon. They will provide more details in the coming days. 

Q. Are the sites walk-in or drive-through? 
You can walk-in or drive-through at all three testing sites. 

Q. I can’t access these sites for medical reasons/because I’m shielding. What do I do? 
As not everyone can get to a test site there will be other ways for people who live in one of the areas above to get a test arranged soon.  

Q. What test will I have if I visit the site? 
Standard PCR tests will be used at these testing sites. These types of tests involve a swab of the nose and throat and are sent off to laboratories to be analysed. 
Q. An existing test site for people with symptoms is closer to me. Can I go there? 
No. If you do not have symptoms and live in one of the areas above, you must use the new sites which have been set up for this purpose. This is to help keep you safe.  

Q. How and when will people be informed of the results? 
NHS Test and Trace will tell people whether or not they have a positive test result by text or email. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days. 

Q. Do you have to isolate after having on one of these tests?  
No. You should only need to self-isolate if you test positive, have any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive.  

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