Additional testing facilities in Bicester and Banbury as COVID cases continue to rise

Adults in Cherwell will be able to get a PCR test at additional facilities in Bicester and Banbury in response to steeply rising cases.

Published: Friday, 10th December 2021

Mobile testing units (MTUs) are being set up at Bicester Leisure Centre, and Dukes Meadow Pavilion in Banbury for residents who have symptoms. Both units will be open for business between 09.00 and 15.00 from 11 December until 24 December.

The facilities are for booked appointments only, and people who have symptoms can book an appointment through the national booking system at

Cherwell currently has particularly high COVID rates, with 1,157 cases or a rate of 762 per 100,000 people in the seven days up to Monday 6 December.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “Cases across Oxfordshire are continuing to rise sharply. Although we do seem to be in a much better situation this winter thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, the advent of the new Omicron variant means we must still approach the virus with caution and not let our guard down. Regular testing is one way that we will be able to help bring these case rates down – it could still be possible to pass the virus onto somebody at high risk even if you do not have any severe symptoms. This is particularly important in Cherwell where rates are now the highest in Oxfordshire.

“Now is the time for people to get tested and do their bit to help stop the spread of the virus to ensure that they can all enjoy a peaceful Christmas period. Let’s work together to drive down these case numbers.”

What are the new rules?

A number of rules have also been reintroduced by the government in response to the latest wave of infections:

  • Face coverings are mandatory in most public venues including places of worship, theatres and cinemas. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. 
  • People should work from home where possible.
  • An NHS COVID pass or proof of negative lateral flow test will be required to gain access to major venues such as nightclubs, indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

Those who test positive for the virus should ensure they self-isolate for ten days. Anybody who comes into contact with somebody who has tested positive for the new Omicron variant should test daily and isolate if they test positive for the virus.

Find out more about the new measures at

What is a COVID pass?

Anybody aged 18 or over and registered with a GP can get an NHS COVID pass if they meet any one of the following:

There is more information regarding the COVID pass on the NHS website.

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