Door-to-door Coronavirus testing is to take place in a number of locations in England due to concerns over the spread of international Coronavirus variants.
There are currently 105 confirmed cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 in the UK, with 11 cases not thought to be linked to international travel. There is not currently evidence that the variant is more severe, however, it is thought that it may be much easier to transmit than previous variants.
Speaking during a press conference from Downing Street on Monday evening, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK must “come down hard” on the South African variant. People in the following postcode areas are being told to minimise all social contact and mobile testing units and home testing kits are being set up in the areas;
Around 80,000 people will be offered urgent tests for the variant, with residents in the above areas being asked to take tests even if they don’t have symptoms of the virus.
Mr Hancock, speaking to residents of the above postcode areas during the Downing Street briefing, said;
“It is imperative that you stay at home, and that you get a test, even if you don’t have symptoms.
“This is so important so that we can break the chains of the transmission of this new variant, and we’ve got to bring this virus to heel.”
The three vaccines approved in the UK to date have been proven effective against the South African variant.
On Monday, the UK reported 18,607 positive Coronavirus cases in the latest 24 hour period, while a further 406 deaths were reported within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test. Over 9.2 million people have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.