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London: Surge Covid testing in Tower Hamlets as variants detected

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Everyone aged 11 years and over who lives, works or is educated in postcode E1 is being urged to take a test (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Surge testing is to be deployed in another London borough after ‘several’ cases of the South African and Brazilian Covid variants were found.

People in the E1 area of Tower Hamlets have been asked to come forward for a test from Sunday after the variants of concern were discovered.

The Department of Health said all those who have tested positive are self-isolating.

They added that there are no links between the new cases and the cluster of cases recently identified in the south London area.

Two cases of the South African Covid variant were discovered in Redbridge yesterday.

Meanwhile, a school in Leicester ramped up testing after three cases of the new Indian Covid-19 variant were found on Wednesday.

A statement from NHS Test and Trace today said: ‘Everybody aged 11 years and over who resides, works or is educated in these postcodes is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test when invited, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

People queue at a mobile coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing site in Stockwell, London, Britain, April 16, 2021 (Picture: Reuters)

‘Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. In these instances, contact tracers will look back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission.

‘By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify variant of concern cases and their spread.

‘People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home.’

It comes as ministers are reportedly set to approve the next stage of lockdown easing.

People living in England are expected to be able to hug friends and family from May 17.

The next stage of lockdown lifting will also see overseas holidays get the green light.

This is a breaking story – more follows.

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