Surge testing to begin in Wembley after South African variant detected

People living within targeted areas of North Wembley are being “strongly encouraged” to take a Covid-19 test due to the detection of the South African variant.

It has been revealed that surge testing will be deployed in north-west London following the discovery.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said today (Thursday 4 March) that additional testing and genomic sequencing will be rolled out in the North Wembley area of Brent.

It follows the news that household in Barnet has tested positive for the South African variant of covid several days ago, meaning that everyone in the area needs to be tested whether they have symptoms or not.

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Following the detection in Barnet, Daniel Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “One case of the South African variant of Covid-19 was detected in East Finchley. There is no evidence at present that they have passed the infection further.

“However, we are introducing door-to-door testing and deploying a mobile testing unit in East Finchley to be absolutely sure.

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“I urge everyone to continue to stick to the rules of social distancing, hand washing and face covering and to keep themselves and others safe from the virus. Getting tested and getting vaccinated will help us all return to normality as soon as possible.”

The Department of Health said: “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.

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“Positive cases will be sequenced for genomic data to help increase our understanding of Covid-19 variants and their spread within these areas.

“Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission.”