A resident in LB Ealing has tested positive for the South African variant of COVID-19.
Ealing council were notified by NHS Test & Trace and Public Health England to confirm the presence of the new, more easily transmissible, variant in the borough.
Others who have tested positive with this variant have not travelled to South Africa, neither had they been in contact with anyone who had links to South Africa. NHS Test and Trace confirmed that a person in the W7 area (Hanwell) was one of the small number of cases.
In total there are 105 reported cases of the South African variant in the UK, 11 of which did not have any immediate contacts who had travelled abroad.
The person, who is not being identified, is being praised for following all public health guidance and self-isolating. They have now made a full recovery.
Ealing council’s public health team are working with national test and trace officials and Public Health England to support their response to the possible spread of this variant.
Although the Government has said there is currently no evidence the South African variant causes more severe illness, or that the vaccine would not protect against it, it is thought to be more transmissible than earlier strains of the virus.
Speaking at Monday’s (1 February) Downing Street news conference, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the emergence of the variant was a “stark reminder the fight against this virus is not over yet” and that now was “no time to let things slip”.
Testing local people for the variant
A walk-through testing centre was set up on Monday 1 February at Dean Gardens car park in Leeland Terrace, West Ealing W13 9DA, to test specifically for the South African variant of the virus.
This is for residents and people working in the area, who do not have symptoms, to be tested. Book a test at the Dean Gardens car park mobile testing unit. Parking at the Dean Gardens car park will be suspended.
Later this week, Ealing council will also start a door-to-door delivery of free home test kits to all households within the identified area. The kits will then be collected directly from households and should not be posted back. The council will be publicising the delivery routes as and when they are available. Check if you are in the identified area with this postcode lookup
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding, you are asked to wait for the home test kit rather than attend the variant testing centre in Dean Gardens car park.
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.”
You can find out more about COVID-19 variants here.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Covid update from Kelly O’Neill
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