Surge Covid-19 testing deployed in Redbridge after South Africa variant found

30 April 2021, 15:43 | Updated: 30 April 2021, 16:15

Surge Covid-19 testing is being deployed in Redbridge after two cases of the South African variant were discovered
Surge Covid-19 testing is being deployed in Redbridge after two cases of the South African variant were discovered. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Surge Covid-19 testing is being deployed in Redbridge, East London after two cases of the South African variant were discovered.

The confirmed cases are self-isolating and their contacts have been identified.

There are no links between these cases and the cluster of cases recently identified in the South London area which sparked the largest surge testing operation to date, nor are the two cases linked.

Areas within the IG1 and IG6 postcodes are being targeted by Test and Trace with extra testing, along with small parts of IG5 and IG7.

Everybody aged 11 years and over who resides or works in these postcodes is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

"Enhanced" contact tracing will be used for anyone who tests positive with the variant.

Read more: 77 cases of ‘double mutant’ Covid-19 variant discovered in UK

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This will see tracers look back over a longer period of time to determine how the person was infected.

Test and Trace staff use PCR testing, which allows positive results to be processed at specialist laboratories.

Twice-weekly rapid testing should also be used alongside the PCR test.

Read more: Pfizer vaccine 'shows 100% protection against South African variant'

Anyone without symptoms can book a free check online or over the phone, and will then be able to go to a site or get a kit sent to their home.

Those without symptoms should check with their council website for more information.

The UK is tracking several variants amid fears they could spread faster or evade protection given by vaccines.

The variant first identified in Kent, the Brazil variant and the one found in India are all being tracked.

Public Health England said 737 cases of the South African variant have been discovered in the UK since December.