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Surge testing deployed in Bolton after 'cluster' of India covid variant found
7 May 2021, 20:01
Surge testing has been deployed in Bolton after a cluster of cases of variants first identified in India and South Africa were detected.
People living or working in the BL3 postcode area have been urged to get tested, even if they do not have symptoms.
The Department of Health said a "small number" of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa (B.1.351) and a cluster of cases of the B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India had been found.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) upgraded the B.1.617.2 variant to a variant of concern.
This is based on evidence which suggests it is as least as transmissible as the Kent variant, though it does not carry a specific E484K mutation that has been worrying experts.
According to PHE, cases involving the variant have increased to 520 from 202 over the last week and almost half the cases are related to travel or contact with a traveller.
The variant cases are spread across the country. However, the majority are in the North West (predominantly Bolton) and London, where there has also been increased transmission.
The DHSC said enhanced contact tracing would be used for those testing positive with a variant of concern.
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 the local authority website for more information here