Surge Covid testing deployed to new part of London after South Africa variant found – Mirror Online

Surge Covid testing has been deployed to another part of the UK after the worrying South African variant was detected.

NHS Test and Trace is providing additional testing in and around the Woodlands area of Hounslow, London, after one confirmed case of the variant.

The confirmed case has self-isolated and their contacts have been identified.

No links have been found between this case and previous cases identified in the South London area.

Everybody aged 16 and over who lives and works in the area is strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

Coronavirus surge testing
Coronavirus surge testing in another area of London
(Image: PA)

The Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement: “Enhanced 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.

“By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify variant of concern cases and their spread.

covid surge testing
People are being urged to have a PCR test (file photo)
(Image: PA)
Surge testing is to be deployed in Hounslow
Surge testing is to be deployed in Hounslow

“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 without symptoms should visit Hounslow’s website for more information.

People in this area should continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.

People taking part in coronavirus surge testing on Clapham Common
People taking part in coronavirus surge testing on Clapham Common
(Image: PA)

This comes as a Covid expert has said the UK is on track to open up in June and scrap lockdown rules but Brits must be prepared for new variants to emerge.

After months of restrictions, England is expected to emerge from almost all restrictions from June 21.

But we still need to be “cautious” and prepare for a potential resurgence this autumn, says Professor Peter Openshaw, who is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nertag).

He told the Andrew Marr Show the country needs to keep an eye on case numbers and new variants.

covid surge testing
Surge testing in another south London area, Clapham, last month
(Image: PA)

Professor Openshaw said: “I think we are on course at the moment but we have to just keep an eye on what is going on in terms of case numbers and in terms of new variants that will be arising internally but also coming into the country.

“It’s inevitable that those variants will be on our shores or expanding to some areas.

“We just need to be very cautious and we need to use this time to prepare particularly for what may happen in the autumn when we go back to school.

“This is a time to prepare.”