Adults living in New Addington and Fieldway in Croydon are being urged to get tested for Covid-19 after a case of the South African coronavirus variant was confirmed in the areas.
The urge for rapid testing came as the case who tested positive for the new variant had neither been to South Africa nor knowingly came into contact with anyone who had connections there; this suggests the variant may be in the local environment of Croydon.
“Every person living in the area over the age of 16 is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test as soon as possible, even if you are not showing symptoms,” the Croydon Council said on its website.
“This includes people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19.”
Enhanced contact tracing is being launched in New Addington and Fieldway to track and stop the spread of the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.
Mobile testing units
The Borough of Croydon is currently one of eleven locations placed under these extra precautions, as Public Health England takes steps to suppress the spread and understand the new Covid-19 variant.
From 23 February, new Mobile Testing Units will be located in car parks at Timebridge Centre, Fieldway, and Queen Elizabeth Drive, New Addington.
The units are open 7 days a week, 8:30-3pm and tests can be booked via the council website here.
Residents without symptoms can also pick up and drop off a home testing kit from three locations: Timebridge Centre, Fieldway or New Addington Library, Central Parade; open 11am-3pm, Monday to Saturday.
Croydon Council members will also be going door-to-door delivering test kits to some addresses to help suppress the spread.
To better understand the new variant, any positive tests in the area will be collected and analysed to see how it compares with other cases.
‘Protect you and your loved ones’
Although there is no evidence that the South African variant causes more serious illness, there are concerns it can spread more readily and current vaccinations may not work as well against it.
Croydon Council told residents via their site: “The more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at suppressing it. Please help to keep your community safe by getting tested so we can find the variant and protect you and your loved ones.”
Presently, there are no additional restrictions in New Addington and Fieldway. Schools and colleges remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and nurseries remain open.
The additional testing will be carried out for two weeks, alongside continued national lockdown restrictions and social distancing.
New Addington and Fieldway are the latest area in the UK with a confirmed COVID-19 case with the new variant but without a link to international travel.