Middlesborough residents urged to get tested after South African variant is found

12 February 2021, 22:38

Everyone over the age of 16 in Middlesbrough is being urged to get tested for Covid-19
Everyone over the age of 16 in Middlesbrough is being urged to get tested for Covid-19. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Everyone over the age of 16 in Middlesbrough is being urged to get tested for Covid-19 after a confirmed case of the South African variant was found.

Extra testing is being carried out across the are and an additional test centre has been set up at the Parkway Centre in Coulby Newham

An appointment is not needed.

According to Public Health England data, Middlesbrough currently has the fifth highest infection rate in England.

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As of February 8, the rate per 100,000 people stood at 357.5, down slightly from 359.6 the week before.

Esther Mireku, consultant in public health in Middlesbrough, said: "I urge everyone over the age of 16 in the Marton and Coulby Newham areas to come forward for a test. This will help us understand more about the potential spread of this new variant.

"While the overall Covid infection rate in Middlesbrough has now halved from its peak in early January, it has still not decreased as much as we would have liked.

"The high prevalence of Covid in the town, combined with the reporting of this variant, are a reminder to everyone of the importance of staying at home as much as possible and following hands-face-space when out for an essential reason."

Local mayor Andy Preston said: "New variants are popping up in different towns and cities around the country.

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"What's really important now is that we establish whether the variant has spread further around Middlesbrough."

Surge testing has been used in a number of areas across the country in attempts to get on top of new variants of the disease.

People in areas of Lambeth in south London as well as parts of Worcestershire, Manchester, Kent and Surrey have all been offered tests when cases of new strains have been identified.