Urgent Covid tests carried out door-to-door as mutant strain spreads across UK
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Urgent door-to-door tests are to be carried out for Covid after cases of the mutant South African strain were found across the UK.
Residents in a part of Surrey are to be urgently tested for Covid-19 after it emerged the South African strain of the virus may have started spreading in the community.
There have been two positive cases of the strain in people with no links to travel or previous contact with those affected , causing scientists concern.
So far, 105 cases of the strain have been identified to date across the UK, but this is the first signal of wider community spread.
Responding to the outbreak, Surrey County Council said the Surrey Local Resilience Forum is working with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health to carry out a localised "surge testing" programme in the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking.
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All residents within the affected areas will be asked by officials to carry out a test even if they have no symptoms.
The council said in a statement: "This will enable us, working closely with PHE, NHS Test & Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to closely monitor any community spread of the new variant, and restrict further transmission."
Those living across the county in Egham will undertake similar "precautionary measures".
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.
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"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."
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