MASS testing in Surrey as South African Covid variant discovered in two people who did not travel
The Surrey County Council has announced that residents in Woking will be mass tested, even if they are symptom-free, in the coming days, as two people have tested positives for the South African strain of Covid, despite the fact that neither of them had travelled to the country.
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.”
The South African Covid variant, along with the UK and Brazilian strains, are thought to be far more contagious than the original virus, although no hard data exists to show that they are any more deadly. Research carried out by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech, which was published on Wednesday, January 20, shows that their jab is effective on these new variants.
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.”
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