Southampton case of South African variant prompts surge testing across SO15 postcode

A CASE of the South African variant of Covid-19 in Southampton has prompted surge testing across the area.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 10:25 am

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is to set up testing regimes in the SO15 postcode, which covers the city wards of Shirley, Freemantle, Banister Park, and Millbrook.

Public Health England data shows that 217 confirmed or probable cases of the South African variant have been discovered – a rise of 15 since the last update on February 11.

People living within area have been strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test this week – whether they are showing symptoms or not – and to book through the government’s main Covid-19 testing website, a spokeswoman for the department said.

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Surge testing is to be carried out in Southampton following the discovering of the South African variant of Covid-19 in the city.

Laboratory studies have shown that viruses with the E484K mutation, which is also found in the South African variant, are more efficient at evading natural and vaccine-created immunity.

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It comes as the variant continues to spread across the country, with cases uncovered in Norfolk and Woking, prompting surge testing across the IP22 and GU22 postcodes.

Efforts in Manchester to track down examples of the mutation of the more transmissible Kent variant will also be expanded following deployment of testing teams last week, with the postcode districts of M40 and M9 set to be targeted.

Some 10,000 extra tests were rolled out in areas of the city last week after four people from two unconnected households were found to be infected with the E484K mutation, which is linked to the Kent variant mutation.

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

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