Door-to-door mass COVID testing is being rolled out across eight parts of England.
It comes after 11 people tested positive for the new South African coronavirus variant.
This was despite them not leaving the country or having links to previous cases.
As such, a Government mass testing scheme of 80,000 people is now being rolled out.
Where is the mass COVID testing taking place?
Mass COVID testing is taking place across eight areas of England in an attempt to keep track of the mutated virus.
Health officials will now visit the homes of people in Woking, Surrey and Walsall in the West Midlands.
Residents of Maidstone in Kent and Tottenham, Hanwell and Mitcham in London will also be offered the tests.
In the east of the country, residents in Broxbourne will be part of the targeted testing.
In the north west, people living in Southport will be offered the tests.
All testing is voluntary and more than 80,000 adults over 18 living in the areas will be offered the test.
How many cases of the new variant have been detected?
Since December 22, Public Health England has revealed that 105 cases of the South African variant have been detected in England.
This figure includes the 11 people scattered across the areas now scheduled for mass COVID testing.
Experts fear there could already be hundreds more cases in the UK.
Like the Kent variant, it carries the same mutation that makes it more transmissible than the original virus.
It’s really important to say there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.
However, there is no evidence to suggest those who test positive for the South African variant will experience more serious complications.
There is also nothing to suggest the current crop of vaccines would not work against the mutation.
How will the mass COVID testing work?
Residents will be contacted directly by medics wanting to carry out the PCR tests.
They will be carried out door-to-door and offered to those without symptoms.
The kit will be dropped off and residents will self-administer it.
The kit will then be picked up by the same team.
Results are usually back the same day.
I’ve just been told that they’re going to be doing door-to-door testing in my area from tomorrow 😳
— Danny Potter (@ItsDanPotter) February 1, 2021
If we have the capacity and means for door-to-door testing, why is this only being rolled out now… a year into the pandemic?… https://t.co/E3Hagw1cVA
— jas🦦 (@JAliceWhitehead) February 1, 2021
What have the experts said?
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.
“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 there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.”
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