Public Health Director explains 'surge testing' amid South African variant concerns

1 February 2021, 18:33

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'Surge testing' is to be carried out in a part of Hertfordshire to try and stomp out a new variant of coronavirus from spreading further.

With the new South African strain of Covid found in eight areas of Britain LBC spoke to Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council.

Explaining to LBC's Eddie Mair about the details behind the testing operation Professor McManus said it would see 10,000 people in the EN10 postcode will be tested over the next few days.

He told Eddie everyone in the affected area would receive a letter from the council, warning "if you haven't had a letter then you shouldn't expect a knock on the door."

The public health expert told LBC how the planned testing would work in his area
The public health expert told LBC how the planned testing would work in his area. Picture: LBC

Telling LBC the testing staff would be in high visibility clothing and that they would not be asking for money, in the wake of a warning about Covid related scams.

The director of public health has said they would be starting door-to-door testing this week after one case of the South African variant was found in the county.

Speaking at Downing Street, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said there's currently no evidence to suggest the strain is more severe but we 'need to come down on it hard.'

The affected areas include parts of London, Surrey, Kent, Hertfordshire, the Midlands and North West.

There's concern the variant is spreading in the community as some who have it don't have links to South Africa.

Professor McManus said the number of cases that had been detected across the country which were not linked to travel was still relatively small.

He said their aim was the "eradication" of the South African variant.