Now Covid testing to find new mutant strains is deployed in 13 areas – is yours on the list?

CORONAVIRUS testing has been deployed across thirteen areas in England to detect new mutant variants of Covid-19.

The map below reveals if your local area is on the list as a doorstep testing regime has this morning been rolled out in Manchester after the Kent variant was detected.

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Thousands of extra tests will be rolled out in the region today after two unconnected households were found to be infected with the E484K mutation, Manchester City Council said.

It follows similar surges in testing in Worcestershire, Sefton, Merseyside, and areas in Bristol and south Gloucestershire, after variants were found.

Residents in these areas were last week urged to go to new pop-up testing sites even if they didn't have any Covid-19 symptoms.

The three main symptoms of coronavirus are a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.

If you have any of the these symptoms you should isolate and get a test.

But residents in 18 areas across England have been asked to get a test regardless of their symptoms, with tests being dropped off door-to-door and more tests sites opening up.

It comes as:

  • Air passenger from South Africa reveals she walked through Heathrow in 10 minutes with NO checks despite mutant strain
  • Hopes teachers could agree to cut summer holidays short if they are prioritised for the vaccine
  • Brits warned ‘it’s just too early’ to start booking summer holidays due to coronavirus
  • Over-70s should contact the NHS ASAP if they’ve not had a Covid vaccine, urges Matt Hancock
  • All travellers entering the UK to take TWO Covid tests during 10-day quarantine in bid to stop new variants

Extra testing sites will be set up to enable anyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in the affected areas – which includes postcodes in Hulme, Moss Side, Whalley Range and Fallowfield.

In the next few days, volunteers will start knocking on people's doors to offer tests for anyone who cannot get to a site,

The testing blitz will also be available for people who work in the area but do not live there.

Those who have been vaccinated should also take a test, the council has said.

The rollout will use PCR swabs, which take a few days to return results, and anyone who tests positive will be asked to self-isolate and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

LIMIT EXPOSURE

Manchester City Council said it is working with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to investigate the spread further and take action to limit the number of people exposed.

David Regan, public health director at Manchester City Council, said: "We all know that the virus will change over time and it's important that we investigate new strains to understand how they might spread.

"This is exactly what we're doing with the intensive testing in parts of Manchester, with local testing units and people going door-to-door to offer people tests."

Those living or working in postcodes M14 4, M14 7, M15 5, M15 6, M16 7, M16 8 are affected – and should check the council's website for more information.

Last week, three new postcodes in the UK were given door-to-door "surge" Covid testing after the South Africa variant was found.

Brits living in areas of Sefton, Merseyside, and parts of Bristol and South Gloucestershire were able to get a test after cases of the variant with no links to international travel were identified.

Health officials are scrambling to prevent the surge of the South Africa strain, as it is feared that it could reduce the efficacy of vaccines.

The Department for Health and Social Care has said more areas will have additional testing made available to control the spread of Covid-19 variants.

It comes just days after it was revealed 11 rogue cases of the South African strain, with no links to foreign travel, were detected across eight postcodes in England.

A major door-to-door testing blitz on up to 350,000 people was launched earlier last week in a fightback against the new strains in hotspot areas.

Testing of around 10,000 people in Maidstone, Kent, was completed last Thursday night.

It comes after new mutant strains of Covid have been detected in the UK, sparking a race to develop booster jabs.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the threat, with government scientists and pharma firms now working on booster doses against these new mutations.

It was yesterday reported that the Test & Trace scheme doesn't yet know whether the surge testing has detected any cases of the South African variant as scientists are yet to report their findings.

 

The results are set to emerge later this week.

Mr Hancock added that the government "has a plan to keep new variants under control".

He said that Brits "mustn't let a new variant undo all of the good work that the vaccine rollout is doing to protect people"

Around one in 20 positive tests are sequenced and it is hoped that the current lockdown will drive cases low enough so that all tests are sent for further sequencing.

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