South Africa variant: Surge testing deployed in Brentwood
Sign up to receive our rundown of the day’s top stories direct to your inbox
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The South African strain of the Coronavirus is just like all others in the sense that viruses constantly mutate into new versions or “variants” as they’re often called. These tiny genetic changes take place as the virus makes new copies of itself in an effort to spread and thrive among populations. The South African strain is one of the most dominant in the world, and has already taken over the Eastern and Wester Cape provinces of South Africa. At least 20 other countries, including Austria, Norway and Japan, have also detected cases of the virus among their population groups.
In an effort to combat the latest strain of the virus, the Government has introduced a policy of surge testing into the UK.
Each local authority has developed its own strategy for managing the surge testing programme.
This includes opening new testing sites, sending out more home test kits and providing door-to-door testing in some areas.
The Government is encouraging everyone over 16 living in the surge testing zones to take a test as soon as possible.
London surge testing: Covid testing for UK capital after South Africa strain spotted – are you affec (Image: Getty)
London surge testing: Surge testing will take place in London (Image: Getty)
Surge testing in London – who’s affected?
Some parts of London will be subject to surge testing after a case of the South African covid variant was found in the Capital.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said “targeted areas will have additional testing made available to control and suppress the potential spread of the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa”.
As it stands, it’s understood people living in the London borough of Wandsworth will be the ones mainly affected.
The DHSC adds: “Working in partnership with the local authority, additional testing and genomic sequencing is being deployed to targeted areas within Wandsworth, where the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found.”
London surge testing: Covid testing will be ramped up in parts of London (Image: Getty)
At the moment, it’s understood only two postcodes within the south London borough will be affected by surge testing.
These postcodes are understood to be the only places of concern in terms of the South African variant in London.
Postcodes which can expect a heightened testing programme in recent weeks are:
Brazil variant postcodes: Which areas are being surge tested? [INSIGHT]
Manchester infection rate: Surge testing increased in region [REPORT]
Covid rapid testing: Will rapid tests be needed to go to the pub? [EXPLAINED]
London surge testing: The South African Covid strain has been found in London (Image: Getty)
The DHSC adds: “The increased testing is being introduced in addition to existing extensive testing and, in combination with the public following current lockdown rules and Hands Face Space advice, will help to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus.
“Positive cases will be sequences for genomic data to help increase our understanding of COVID-19 variants and their spread within these areas.
“Enhances contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern.
“This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission.
“People living within the targeted areas are strongly encouraged to take a covid test when offered, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
“People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home.”
Those with concerns who aren’t showing symptoms should contact their local authority.
If you live in Wandsworth and want the details on how best to get in touch with your local council on the matter, you can follow this link.