Three more areas in the south of England are set to face surge testing for the South African mutation of Covid-19, the Government has announced.

Testing regimes will be set up in Norfolk, Southampton and Woking, Surrey, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The measures are following the discovery of positive cases of the South African variant of coronavirus.

The testing will be targeted within the postcodes of IP22, SO15 and GU22 in those areas respectively.

It’s also been reported that testing efforts in Manchester will be expanded following deployment of testing teams last week, with the postcode districts of M40 and M9 to be targeted.

Viruses with the E484K mutation, which is found in the South African variant, can escape human defences according to laboratory testing.

This makes these specific mutated viruses more efficient at evading natural and vaccine-triggered immunity.

People living within the targeted testing areas are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not, a spokeswoman for the department said.

Three England areas to face surge testing for South African coronavirus variant

People with symptoms should book a test in the “usual way”, and those without symptoms should visit their local authority website for more information, she added.

DHSC said surge testing in parts of the London boroughs of Haringey and Merton, along with Sefton in Merseyside, were complete.

“Further data on surge testing will be provided in due course,” a spokeswoman said.

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