Harrow residents urged to ‘do all they can to prevent the spread of covid’ after South African variant found

Image credit: Harrow Council

Harrow residents and workers are being urged to do all they can to prevent the spread of covid after a small number of cases of the South African variant being found in the borough.

All those infected with the variant followed self-isolation guidance and work to  identify close contacts proceeded as normal.  

Working with Public Health England, the council will shortly offer tests to anyone  over the age  of  16  living or  working in a small number of selected streets. 

They will be asked either to complete a home test or book a test at Harrow Arts Centre. The council will also be approaching nearby businesses.   

These  streets are in Belmont, Harrow Weald, Hatch End, Headstone North, Marlborough and Wealdstone wards.

Those affected will shortly receive further information through their letterbox and are urged to take action even though they feel well – as many as 1 in 3 people with Covid don’t show any symptoms. 

  • Unrelated cases detected in Headstone North and Wealdstone 
•  Residents in selected areas will be asked to take part in ‘surge’ testing 
 
•  Tests vital to suppress the variant  and  find any further cases 


Any positive cases will be examined to determine which strain of the virus is present. This will help to see how far – if at all – the South African variant has spread in the community.
 

Anyone testing positive must self-isolate for 10 days. People on low incomes unable to work because they’re self-isolating may be able to claim a £500 payment. 

Residents not asked to take part in surge testing can test using the council’s rapid testing service, providing they feel well. Tests can be booked at www.harrow.gov.uk/test.  

Anyone with symptoms of Covid – a fever, continuous cough or changed sense of taste or smell -should self-isolate to prevent the spread of Covid and book a test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. 

Further information about this work and the support available to residents can be found at harrow.gov.uk/surgtest

Please continue to follow all lockdown restrictions – stay at home wherever possible and limit your contact with other people. Wash your hands often, cover your nose and mouth in public spaces and keep two metres from anyone you don’t live with.

Carole Furlong, Harrow’s Director of Public Health, said, “I’d urge everyone invited to take part in surge testing to do so. By testing you’ll be helping to limit the spread of Covid and make the lifting of further lockdown restrictions more likely.  

“This variant is still quite new – while there’s no evidence that it’s more serious than others, or that vaccines are less effective against it, our understanding of it is still quite limited. 

“Residents asked to take part in extra testing have a real opportunity to help us find out more about the South African variant and how to fight it.”  

Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director at Public Health England London, said, “The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant originating in South Africa.  

“I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.” 

 

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Source: Harrow Council