The case was not linked to travel so public health officials are trying to detect if there are more case of this variant in that local area. Over the last week there have been 936 lab confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the last seven days (Jan 25 to Jan 31) cases across Lambeth. It is not yet known if any of them are this particular variant.
Working in partnership with NHS Test and Trace, every household living in the area of interest over the age of 16 is strongly encouraged to take a PCR Covid-19 test this week, even if they are not showing symptoms. Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) will be deployed offering PCR testing, with Lambeth council encouraging people to get tested in the area by also providing home test kits.
There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is more serious than others, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.
Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space and lockdown measures, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the new variant.
Positive tests will be sequenced to identify any further spread of the new variant first discovered in South Africa, enabling a better understanding of the variant and identifying if there are any more cases of this particular strand of the virus in the area. If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of anyone they have been in contact with to NHS Test and Trace when requested.
If you have symptoms
If you have symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell) it is essential that, wherever you live, you should get tested as normal and self-isolate while awaiting the results. The borough has testing sites for people with symptoms which can be booked by calling NHS 119 or online on the government’s website.
Actions for residents
All residents should continue to follow the National lockdown: stay at home rules, no other action is required at this point. Those living in the affected areas will receive information on how to access testing.
Councillor Jack Hopkins, Lambeth Council leader, said: “There will be concern in our communities that there has been a case of this new strain of Covid-19 last month. I want to thank everyone who has followed the rules to self-isolate to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
“We are now urging everyone living or working in the area with or without symptoms to get tested so see if there is any further spread so we can protect them, their families and the wider community.
“The government has told us that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.
“Other than getting tested or other essential reasons, all residents are urged to follow the lockdown rules and stay at home, wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from others and wear a face covering.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director at Public Health England, said: “The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant originating in South Africa here in London. I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.
“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the national lockdown guidance that is in place – stay at home as much as possible, limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”
For more information visit lambeth.gov.uk/enhancedtesting.