Surge testing for coronavirus will be deployed in Stockton on Tees and Brent, in north London, after the South African variant of Covid-19 was detected.
Increased testing and sequencing will take place in these areas in a bid to contain any spread of the South African strain, which has been designated a “variant of concern” due it being much more transmissible than the parent virus.
Any positive cases will be sequenced for genomic data to help increase understanding of Covid-19 variants and their spread.
Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern.
People living within the targeted areas are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test when offered, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone.
Tests will be available door to door, at testing facilities or through kits being sent to homes.
Those without symptoms should visit the local authority website for more information.
What is surge testing?
Surge testing is increased and targeted coroanvirus testing used by the governmnet to try and detect new Covid-19 variants.
This includes door-to-door testing in some areas and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations in England.
It also involves testing people who do not have any symptoms.
Why is surge testing being used?
This is to identify different Covid-19 variants and mutations which cannot be traced back to international travel.
Where else is there surge testing?
London Borough of Barnet (specific areas within N2 and NW4)
London Borough of Croydon (specific areas in the CR0 postcode)
London Borough of Lambeth (specific areas in the SW8 and SW9 postcodes)
London Borough of Merton (parts of the Wimbledon Park area)
London Borough of Redbridge (Loxford and Clementswood wards)
South Gloucestershire Council (within the following postcodes: BS32 0, BS32 8, BS32 9, BS34 5 and BS34 6)
Listen to the ITV News Coronavirus podcast: