Surge testing in two new areas after South African Covid variant detected

4 March 2021, 17:16 | Updated: 5 March 2021, 13:13

Surge testing will be introduced in two new areas after a case of the South African variant was detected
Surge testing will be introduced in two new areas after a case of the South African variant was detected. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Surge testing is being introduced in two new parts of England after cases of the highly transmissible South African coronavirus variant were detected.

People affected by the increased testing regime will include those within the TS19 postcode in Stockton-on-Tees, north-east England, and anyone living in the North Wembley area of Brent, north-west London.

Individuals living in these areas are being "strongly encouraged" to take a coronavirus test when offered, whether or not they have any symptoms.

A government spokeswoman said: "Further targeted areas will have additional testing made available to control and suppress the potential spread of the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa.

"Working in partnership with the local authorities, additional testing and genomic sequencing is being deployed to targeted areas within Stockton-on-Tees (TS19) and Brent (North Wembley), where the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found.

"The increased testing is being introduced in addition to existing extensive testing and, in combination with the public following current lockdown rules and Hands Face Space advice, will help to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus."

Read more: Germany U-turns and formally approves Oxford vaccine for over-65s

Read more: Single Pfizer or Oxford jab cuts hospitalisations in over 80s by 80%

Nick Ferrari's furious rant at caller who refuses Covid jab

It comes as the UK recorded a further 242 deaths of people who people who had tested positive for Covid-19 within the previous 28 days. The nation's grim tally now stands at 124,025.

There were another 6,573 confirmed infections recorded on Thursday, which sees the total number of cases rise to 4,201,358.

Meanwhile, the latest vaccination update saw 278,956 more people receive their first jab.

Nearly 21 million Brits have now received an initial dose, while almost one million have been given a second.

Elsewhere, more than four in 10 over-80s who received a Covid-19 vaccine have admitted to breaking current lockdown restrictions after getting jabbed, an ONS survey has revealed.

Read more: More than 40% of over-80s admit breaking Covid rules after jab

Explained: Why is furlough being extended until September?

SAGE member against primary school kids wearing masks

Some 43% of elderly people said they had met someone other than a personal care support worker, member of their household or support bubble indoors since being vaccinated.

Current rules introduced in England at the start of January mean family or friends cannot meet socially indoors unless they are in the same household or support bubble.

Meanwhile, teachers and those who work in childcare have had a "little bit higher risk" of contracting coronavirus over lockdown than those who do not, new figures suggest.

Scientists have previously said that jobs which are "open" are likely to carry higher rates of infection during this period when other workers have been instructed to stay at home.

In January, people who worked in education - including schools, nurseries or childcare - had 20% higher odds of infection compared to those who do not work in these professions.

But in February, this rose to 43%, according to data from Imperial College London's React study which has been analysing data from swab tests taken from people across England since May last year.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel

Iron Dome Rocket Interceptions of Hamas Rockets- Southern Israel- Night Attack On Ashdod City

Israel closes airspace as it braces for Iranian drone attack

Iranian attack drones are 'en route to Israel', according to an Israeli Defence Force spokesperson.

Iran launches massive drone and missile attack on Israel as war in Middle East escalates