Experience of a novel community testing programme for COVID-19 in London: Lessons learnt

Gabriel Wallis, Francesca Siracusa, Michael Blank, Helena Painter, Javier Sanchez, Kelcy Salinas, Cherifer Mamuyac, Cindy Marudamuthu, Fenella Wrigley, Tumena Corrah, Tommy Rampling, Sarah Logan, Anna Goodman, Deborah Miller, Bhanu Williams, Alastair McGregor, Victoria Parris, Gurjinder Sandhu, Laurence John, Padmasayee PapineniAshley Whittington*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the London community testing programme developed for COVID-19, audit its effectiveness and report patient acceptability and patient adherence to isolation guidance, based upon a survey conducted with participants. Any patients meeting the Public Health England (PHE) case definition for COVID-19 who did not require hospital admission were eligible for community testing. 2,053 patients with suspected COVID-19 were tested in the community between January and March 2020. Of those tested, 75 (3.6%) were positive. 88% of patients that completed a patient survey felt safe and 82% agreed that community testing was preferable to hospital admission. 97% were able to remain within their own home during the isolation period but just 41% were able to reliably isolate from other members of their household. The London community testing programme allowed widespread testing for COVID-19 while minimising patient transport, hospital admissions and staff exposures. Community testing was acceptable to patients and preferable to admission to hospital. Patients were able to reliably isolate in their home but not from household contacts. The authors believe in the importance, feasibility and acceptability of community testing for COVID-19 as a part of a package of interventions to mitigate a second wave of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E165-E169
JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Royal College of Physicians 2020. All rights reserved.


  • Community screening
  • COVID-19
  • HCID
  • Self-isolation
  • Survey


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