Surge testing deployed in Birmingham to detect South African variant spread

Additional testing and genomic analysis have been set up in Birmingham to track and detect the potential spread of the South African variant of COVID-19. 

The Department of Health and Social care announced that extra resources will be deployed to Bordesley and Highgate in the Birmingham area. NHS Test and Trace will be supporting the local community after the first confirmed case of the South African variant was found in the area.  

Surge testing also took place in the nearby Sandwell area, but it is believed that cases are not linked.  

The approach will target certain households in the Bordesley and Highgate area with everyone over the age of 16 will be encouraged to take a PCR test, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not. All positive test results will be sent to labs for geonomic sequencing, to detect any variants and if they have spread further.  

Enhanced tracing will also take place, going further back to track any potential routes of transmission.  

Rapid tests are still available for the residents of the affected areas and can still be used in conjunction with the taregted PCR tests.  

At 4:00pm, Sunday 25th April, 33,666,638 people have now received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, with 12,587,116 people receiving the second dose.

To find out more about the vaccination statistics, visit the Government website here.