Surge testing for parts of London is being rolled out urgently following 44 new cases of the South African COVID-19 variant. Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said the cluster of cases is “significant”. The Department for Health and Social Care has said it is the “largest surge testing operation to date”.
The surge testing is aimed at suppressing any possible new cases of the variant, with positive results from PCR testing to be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist labs.
Dr Hopkins said: “It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.
“PCR testing is now available for all and I would strongly encourage everyone, whether they live, work or travel through the boroughs, to get tested even if they don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus.”
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said all of the initially identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation. It added any contacts of those infected have been traced and asked to isolate.
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From today, Hillingdon Council will be offering additional testing for people without symptoms living or working in the areas.
People aged 11 and over who live, work or travel through those areas are being urged to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, on top of using twice-weekly rapid testing.
The DHSC said it is the “largest surge testing operation to date” aimed at suppressing any possible new cases of the variant, with positive results from PCR testing to be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist labs.
This includes delivering 7,000 PCR testing kits to homes and businesses.