The UK government will offer residents in parts of Surrey coronavirus tests, after two people tested positive for the South African variant despite having no travel links.
Health officials will carry out door-to-door testing in the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking, regardless of whether people have symptoms or not, Mail Online reports. The swabs will be done by Surrey Local Resilience Forum (SLRF), along with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Ruth Hutchinson, director of public health for Surrey, said: ‘This is a precautionary measure – the more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at stopping it from spreading further.
‘By playing your part and taking the test, you’ll be helping to keep your community and your loved ones safe.
‘It’s really important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.’
According to the report, there have been at least 94 cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351, across the UK since December, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said all 94 cases identified as of last week were connected to travel from South Africa.
Dr. Alison Barnett, regional director at Public Health England South East, 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 here in Surrey.
‘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.
‘The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.’
By Murtala D.