Big campaign under way in Ealing to get people tested for SA variant

Image above: Door to door delivery of test kits to households in West Ealing and Hanwell

There is a big campaign under way in LB Ealing to get people tested for the South African strain of Covid-19, after a person was found to have tested positive for it in Ealing last week.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told a No 10 briefing on Monday 8 February that there was no reason to think the South Africa variant would catch up, or overtake, the dominant so-called Kent virus in the UK in the next few months, but the variant is more easily transmissible than the English version and medical authorities are determined to stamp out the spread as much as possible. The Government said on Monday that 147 cases of the B.1.351 variant had been detected in the UK so far.

According to the BBC Reality Check team, normal testing does not identify which variant of the virus a patient has – that can only be done by genome sequencing, which is currently carried out on between 5% and 7% of positive cases in the UK, and takes about three weeks.

Image above: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visiting the mobile testing site in Ealing with Council Leader Julian Bell

A spokesman from Ealing Council told The Chiswick Calendar they had no news on whether any of the positive tests for coronavirus carried out in the past week were the South African strain.

Since they heard from NHS Track & Trace that there was a case in Ealing, teams have gone door to door dropping off test kits to people who answer the door and picking them up two hours later. If no one comes to the door they post a letter asking the resident to book a test at the mobile testing unit which has been set up in Dean Gardens car park, Leeland Terrace, West Ealing, W13 9DA.

LB Ealing is asking residents living and working in West Ealing and Hanwell to get tested, whether they have symptoms or not, if they go out to work. If you don’t have to leave home, their message it that you should wait for a visit and if you have missed a visit, then book a test. Here’s the area where the tests are being delivered door to door. Click on the map to see it full screen.

Image above: Map showing the area in which LB Ealing is delivering Covid tests to households and the dates on which they are delivering in each area.

To book a test people should go online via the council’s website.

Boris Johnson answered questions about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines being used in the UK after concerns were raised about the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab’s effectiveness against the South Africa variant. The Prime Minister said he was “very confident” in the vaccines being used in the UK, despite the publication of a study which suggested that the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine offers only “minimal protection” against mild disease from the South Africa variant.

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, told a Downing Street briefing that the latest study of the Oxford vaccine in South Africa did not change his view that the Oxford vaccine would be “rather likely” to have an effect on severe disease.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was working with vaccine suppliers on potential booster jabs to help deal with new variants.

Image above: Door to door delivery of test kits to households in West Ealing and Hanwell

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Case of South African Covid variant found in Ealing

See also: Over 70 and not been vaccinated? Contact the NHS

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