Residents in parts of Harpurhey and Moston are being invited for immediate Covid tests after a mutant strain was discovered in the area.
Thousands of people will be invited for testing in the coming days as health chiefs work out how the E484K mutation has developed and spread.
It comes just days after thousands of people were offered tests in Moss Side, south of the city, after the strain was detected there.
Everyone living or working within a specific area of Moston and Harpurhey will be invited for tests from Wednesday (February 17). Residents in targeted areas areas within the M40 and M9 postcode districts – as shown in the map above – will be asked to get a test. The full list of postcodes is below.
The footprint includes a large area within the area bordering Broadhurst Park, Moston Lane, Ashley Lane, Nigel Lane, Lowton Avenue, Church Lane and Oldham Road.
The virus identified in this area is a Kent variant with E484K mutation and has recently been classified by NERVTAG (New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group) as a “variant of concern”.
Manchester Council is working with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to roll out additional testing to limit the number of people exposed.
People will only need to take a test once.
A mobile testing site at the Ebsworth Street car park, in Moston, will be open from midday on Wednesday and daily from 10am until 5pm from Thursday.
The site will operate as walk-up centres with no need to book in advance.
An additional testing site will also be made available in the next few days, the council said.
If your postcode is listed here, you should get tested.
Those who have tested positive for Covid-19 through a PCR test – a swab test taken when symptomatic – within the past 90 days do not need to get a test.
If you have tested positive for Covid-19 on a lateral flow test – for asymptomatic patients – you will need to take another test.
Volunteers will be knocking on doors to offer alternative testing for anyone who can’t get out to a testing site, and testing will also be made available for people who work in the area but don’t live there.
The E484K mutation was originally detected in Bristol last month, before a handful of cases were found in Moss Side around ten days ago.
It is not yet known if the variant is more transmissible.
The Moss Side testing programme is ongoing and no data has been made available so far.
Manchester’s director of Public Health, David Regan, said there is no evidence that this variant will be resistant to the vaccines or causes a more severe illness.
He said it is important everyone living in the boundary aged over 16 gets a test.
“The more people who get tested, the faster we will be able to identify and isolate cases within the community and prevent the virus spreading further,” he said.
“This is a collective effort and we will need everyone to play their part.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Manchester Council’s executive member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said now the strain has been detected health chiefs are working quickly to isolate it.
“There are no changes to the restrictions in Manchester and if you do have to go out for one of the permitted reasons, please make sure you carry on following the rules on social distancing, and wearing a face covering, as well as washing your hands regularly,” she added.
What test will be used?
Everyone in the designated test area will be given a PCR swab test and the test result takes a couple of days to come back.
The other type of test – the rapid Lateral Flow Test – is not being used for this programme.
What to do if you test positive
If someone receives a negative test they do not have to self-isolate but must continue to adhere to the current national lockdown rules.
If someone does test positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass details of their contacts onto NHS Test and Trace.
If someone has already had the vaccine, they should still take a test as this programme of testing is designed to understand how the new variant might have spread in the local community.
If anyone gets symptoms, please book a test in the usual way here, via the NHS COVID-19 app or by calling 119 as usual.
The new test sites are only for people in the designated area who don’t have symptoms and have not had a positive PCR Covid test in the last 90 days.
For more information on the surge testing in Manchester, see here.