Surge testing deployed in Lambeth and Cumbria

19 June 2021, 11:23

Surge testing is being rolled out in parts of south London and Cumbria amid a rise in cases of the more transmissible Delta variant
Surge testing is being rolled out in parts of south London and Cumbria amid a rise in cases of the more transmissible Delta variant. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Surge testing is being rolled out in parts of south London and Cumbria amid a rise in cases of the more transmissible Delta variant, first identified in India.

People who live in Lambeth are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test, whether or not they have symptoms.

The enhanced testing will begin on Saturday in Clapham, Brixton, Stockwell, West Norwood and Vauxhall.

So far, all the confirmed cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts have been identified, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

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Surge testing will also begin in Cumbria where everyone aged 12 to 30 who lives, works or studies in the area is strongly encouraged to take a PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

Those of school age will be offered testing at school.

The DHSC said people in these areas should continue to make use of free twice-weekly lateral flow tests alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.

It comes after a week in which the Prime Minister delayed the much anticipated Freedom Day from 21 June to 19 July after a rise in the cases of the Delta variant across the country.

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It was then officially confirmed after MPs voted 461 to 60 to approve the extension of Covid restrictions.

The decision was made to allow time for the vaccine rollout to catch up, as the Delta variant of the virus has caused "serious concern". But Labour have criticised No10, saying the blame lies with them for not bringing in stricter measures at the borders.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds urged ministers to scrap the amber list on the government's traffic light system for travel, moving it onto the red list "with a proper hotel quarantine system".

He also said the delay to the reopening on 21 June was a "hammer blow to people across the country".

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Tory MP and Chair of the Covid Recovery Group, Mark Harper told LBC on Tuesday: "We should have moved on 21 June. Both of the vaccines are very effective against preventing people from going to hospital.

"I think we could have moved ahead perfectly safely on 21 June."