Surge testing in another London borough after South African variant found

Letters have been sent to 2,000 homes in Southwark asking them to get tested (Picture: Getty)

Another case of the South African coronavirus variant has been discovered in London.

Surge testing will be carried out across Southwark in a bid to limit the spread of the more contagious strain.

Council officials have sent letters to 2,000 homes in South Bermondsey and the wider area urging them to take a test if they have symptoms, and consider booking one if they don’t.

Councillor Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: ‘There is no cause for alarm.

A member of the public takes a swab for a coronavirus test at a temporary COVID-19 testing facility, part of surge testing for the South African variant of Covid-19, in West Ealing, west of London, central England on February 4, 2021. - The highly transmissible variant first identified in South Africa is spreading rapidly around the world, and was last week detected for the first time in the United States. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
The council insisted ‘there is no cause for alarm’ (Picture: AFP via Getty)

‘We are writing to residents in a defined area as a precaution because this variant of Covid-19 may be more easily passed between people.

‘It is important residents in the area have a test if they have Covid-19 symptoms.

‘It is also important they continue to follow the current rules on social distancing and meeting with people from outside their household.’

Postcodes where letters are being sent

SE1 3AW, SE1 3BL, SE1 3BW, SE1 5ER, SE1 5HF, SE1 5HN, SE1 5HP, SE1 5PN, SE1 5PP, SE1 5PR, SE1 5PS, SE1 5PT, SE1 5PU, SE1 5PW, SE1 5PX, SE1 5PY, SE1 5PZ, SE1 5QA, SE1 5QB, SE1 5QD, SE1 5QE, SE1 5QF, SE1 5QH, SE1 5QJ, SE1 5QL, SE1 5QQ, SE1 5QR, SE1 5QT, SE1 5QU, SE1 5QX, SE1 5RA, SE1 5RB, SE1 5RE, SE1 5RG, SE1 5RH, SE1 5RL, SE1 5RN, SE1 5RQ, SE1 5RS, SE1 5RT, SE1 5RU, SE1 5RW, SE1 5RX, SE1 5RY, SE1 5RZ, SE1 5SA, SE1 5SH, SE1 5SJ, SE1 5ST, SE1 5TA, SE1 5TB, SE1 5TD, SE1 5TJ, SE1 5TL, SE1 5TN, SE1 5TW, SE1 5TX, SE1 5TZ, SE1 5XN, SE1 5XU, SE1 5YL, SE16 3RP, SE16 3RS, SE16 3RT

The council said the detected case was different and unrelated to the one recently found in the borough’s Faraday Ward.

Contact tracing teams will carry out investigations into any potential onward transmissions.

Any positive tests sequenced for genomic data to help increase understanding of any variants in the area.

It follows the discovery of the variant in the Midlands last month following the arrival of a flight in to Birmingham Airport.

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