Covid: Largest surge test launched in south London over ‘significant’ cluster of South African variant cases

Alastair Jamieson
·1 min read
 (PA)
(PA)

Health officials have launched the “largest surge testing operation to date” in south London after the discovery of a “significant" cluster of the South African Covid-19 variant.

At least 74 cases of the mutation — 44 confirmed and 40 probable — have been identified in Wandsworth and Lambeth, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Anyone aged 11 and over who lives, works or travels through the areas being urged to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, on top of using twice-weekly rapid testing.

The identified cases are isolating or have been in isolation,the DHSC said.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser for NHS Test and Trace said: “The cluster of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa found in parts of south London, predominantly the Lambeth and Wandsworth areas, is significant.

“It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.”

The first case of the variant in the area was identified in early March.

Patients with symptoms are being urged to book a free test online or by phone, while those without symptoms are being given guidance through their local authority.

Dr Hopkins added: "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.

"Around one in three people with Covid-19 don’t show any symptoms.

"By taking part you can protect yourselves and your loved ones and help us identify any possible new cases that would otherwise be missed, preventing further transmission and saving lives."

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