All you need to know about Covid vaccinations, testing and new travel rules

Published: Thursday 6 January 2022

Updated: Thursday 20 January 2022

Where to get vaccinated

The NHS is urging everyone eligible to get fully vaccinated against Coronavirus, and get the COVID-19 booster when eligible, in light of the Omicron variant which is spreading rapidly in London.

You can book your first, second or booster dose of the vaccine online by visiting the NHS website now or calling 119, free of charge.

The Science Museum in South Kensington is open as a vaccination centre, for walk-ins and pre-booked appointments.  It is open seven days a week from 8.30am to 7.15pm

You can also book or walk-in to a pharmacy or vaccination centre or visit our vaccine bus, which is at locations around the borough. To find out details about vaccination centres and pharmacies, visit our Coronavirus FAQ web page.

The booster vaccine rollout has now been extended to 16- and 17-year-olds who are now eligible if it is more than three months since their second dose.

Ending of Plan B restrictions

The latest figures show a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and that large numbers of people have had their booster vaccinations.  As a result of this the Prime Minister announced yesterday that Plan B restrictions would be ending over the coming week.

From today (Thursday 20 January) staff and pupils in classrooms no longer need to wear face coverings in classrooms.  This will extend to communal areas from Thursday 27 January. 

The Government has also said that from today there is no need to work from home and everyone can return to work.  However, each business will have its own plans in place for what this means and you should check with your company what it plans to do.

From Thursday 27 January all Plan B restrictions will end.  This means:

1.    there will no longer be a legal requirement to wear face coverings anywhere, however the government is advising people to continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces if you are with people you do not normally meet.  In addition, the Mayor of London has stated that face coverings must continue to be worn on all public transport.

2.    No venues or events are required to check people’s Covid Pass, although venues can still do this if they choose to.

You can find the latest government advice and a copy of the Prime Minister’s announcement on 19 January online. 

These changes do not affect the rules on self-isolation or the advice to get tested regularly. It’s important that we all continue to follow the COVID safety behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus.

Changes to isolation period following a positive test 

The isolation period following a positive test result has changed.  You can now leave self-isolation after five full days, if you do a rapid lateral flow test (LFT) on days five and six of your self-isolation period and provided:

  • both tests are negative
  • you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
  • you do not have a high temperature

If you leave self-isolation on or after day six, you are strongly advised to:

  • wear a face covering and limit your close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces
  • work from home if you can 
  • minimise your contact with anyone who is at higher risk from COVID-19

Find out more about the changes.

Get tested

If you have Coronavirus symptoms you can book a PCR test at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX, between 9am and 4pm, seven days a week. It is on the forecourt in front of the Library. You can also book a PCR test at the World’s End Estate piazza, King's Road, SW10, seven days a week from 9am to 4pm.  

You can book your free test online or by calling NHS 119, free of charge. You must follow PHE guidance and remain self-isolating.

You must book a test and bring your phone when getting the test.

Only get a PCR test if you have Coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested. If you have symptoms, self-isolate immediately. Don’t wait for a test or a test result before doing so.
If you test positive for Coronavirus you must isolate immediately for at least five full days

If you are identified as a contact of a positive case and you are under 18, or you have been fully vaccinated and two weeks have passed since your final dose of the vaccine, you no longer need to self-isolate. Please instead take a rapid lateral flow test every day for seven days, and limit your close contact with people are higher risk from Covid-19. If you test positive, you will need to self-isolate.

If you are not fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact, you must self-isolate for 10 days.  

Rapid Community Testing is also in place to prevent asymptomatic people spreading the virus without realising.

You can visit Kensington Town Hall Customer Service Centre, Hornton Street, W8 7NX

  • 8am to 4pm Monday
  • 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday
  • Closed Saturday and Sunday

Please do not attend this site if you have Coronavirus symptoms.

Home testing kits

You can collect rapid lateral flow home testing kits from Kensington Town Call Customer Service Centre during the above hours. You can also find out more information and order tests online.

Changes to what to do after a positive LFT

If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result in England you no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test. You must self-isolate immediately and report your result online.

This is a temporary measure being introduced by the government while COVID-19 cases remain high. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.

New travel testing requirements

If you are under 18 or qualify as fully vaccinated, you no longer need to:

  • take a pre-departure test before you travel to England
  • self-isolate when you arrive in England (you should still book and pay for post-arrival tests)
  • you can take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England (you must book the test before you travel). If the test is positive, you must self-isolate and take a free NHS PCR test to confirm the result.