Symptom-free Covid testing trial under way on coast

St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth (photo: Nick Butcher)

St Nicholas Minster, Yarmouth (photo: Nick Butcher) - Credit: Nick Butcher

Symptom-free coronavirus testing is being trialled in neighbourhoods with higher infection rates across Great Yarmouth.

Testing is operating from different sites on different days, and serving different areas, with invitations hand-delivered in advance by Covid marshals to people in those communities.

Great Yarmouth Minster has been testing people on Wednesday (February 3) and Thursday (February 4). 

On Friday (February 5), tests will be taking place at St George’s Theatre Café Bar.

Saul Humphrey from RG Carter hands over the keys to the newly renovated St George's Theatre in Yarmo

St George's Theatre. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

Carl Smith, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, said: “We are working with Norfolk County Council’s public health team, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, in order to trial targeted testing of people without any Covid-19 symptoms, an initiative known as symptom-free testing.

“Many infected people display no symptoms, so could be spreading the virus without knowing it. The voluntary testing of those without any symptoms (asymptomatic) or before symptoms start (pre-symptomatic) will help to find some of those people so they can self-isolate, helping to reduce infection rates, protect the NHS and save lives.

Niamh Payne and Lauren Randall, covid marshalls in Great Yarmouth, with the leader of the borough co

Niamh Payne and Lauren Randall, covid marshalls in Great Yarmouth, with the leader of the borough council Carl Smith (middle) - Credit: Archant

“Given the lockdown, the initial focus for symptom-free testing is people living in parts of the borough with higher infection rates and who have to attend work in person. In order to trial the process, the first symptom-free testing site opened in Gorleston last week and we’ve expanded symptom-free testing into Great Yarmouth this week, with plans to cover further areas in the coming weeks.

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“Rapid lateral flow tests are being used, which provide a result within 30 minutes. This trial complements the nationally-led roll-out of lateral flow tests in some settings such as universities, schools and some large employers," Mr Smith said.

Symptom-free is only for those without Covid symptoms and is separate from the national coronavirus testing for those with symptoms.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should self-isolate with your household and book a test at or by calling 119.