A case of the South African Covid-19 variant has been found in Rotherhithe, with the council launching widespread testing in the area in a bid to prevent the virus spreading further, writes Kit Heren…
People living in certain parts of the SE16 postcode area have received a letter telling them that tests will be delivered to their house and that everyone over 11 should take one.
The council is opening a temporary testing centre at Deal Porter Square next to Canada Water Library from tomorrow Wednesday (April 14). The centre will operate seven days a week from 9am to 3pm. Tests will be carried out onsite.
You can also collect a home testing kit from Canada Water Library Theatre at 21 Surrey Quays Road between 9am and 5pm every day. Access is via the fire door at the rear of the library, not the main entrance.
The letter tells residents that “there is no cause for alarm” and the increased testing is just a “precaution”.
The postcodes that will receive tests are: SE16 1AT, SE16 1JA, SE16 1JL, SE16 1PJ, SE16 2BX, SE16 2XB, SE16 2XE, SE16 2XU, SE16 4AB, SE16 4AD, SE16 4HL, SE16 4HT, SE16 4HW, SE16 4HY, SE16 4HZ, SE16 4JA, SE16 4JB, SE16 4JD, SE16 4JE, SE16 4JF, SE16 4JG, SE16 4JH, SE16 4JJ, SE16 4JL, SE16 4JN, SE16 4JP, SE16 4JQ, SE16 4JR, SE16 4JX, SE16 4LA, SE16 4LD, SE16 4LE, SE16 4LF, SE16 4LG, SE16 4LH, SE16 4LJ, SE16 4LL, SE16 4LQ, SE16 4NF, SE16 4NG, SE16 4NH, SE16 4NJ, SE16 4NL, SE16 4NQ, SE16 7AU, SE16 7AX, SE16 7AY, SE16 7AZ, SE16 7BA, SE16 7BB, SE16 7BD, SE16 7BE, SE16 7BG, SE16 7BH, SE16 7BJ, SE16 7BL, SE16 7BN, SE16 7BQ, SE16 7BS, SE16 7BU, SE16 7BW, SE16 7BX, SE16 7BY, SE16 7BZ, SE16 7DL, SE16 7DT, SE16 7DX, SE16 7DY, SE16 7DZ, SE16 7EA, SE16 7EB, SE16 7ED, SE16 7EE, SE16 7EF, SE16 7HA, SE16 7HS, SE16 7HY, SE16 7HZ, SE16 7JA, SE16 7JB, SE16 7JD, SE16 7JE, SE16 7JF, SE16 7JH, SE16 7JJ, SE16 7JL, SE16 7JN, SE16 7JP, SE16 7JQ, SE16 7JR, SE16 7JS, SE16 7JT, SE16 7JU, SE16 7JW, SE16 7JX, SE16 7JY, SE16 7JZ, SE16 7LN and SE16 7NJ
The South African variant is thought to spread particularly easily and there are concerns it could also make vaccines less effective – which might leave those in clinically vulnerable groups at risk even if they have received their jabs.
Sangeeta Leahy, Director of Public Health at Southwark Council, said: “We understand that this could be concerning news, but there is no cause for alarm. We are delivering COVID-19 tests to residents in a defined area so that we identify how far, if at all, the variant has spread.
“This variant of COVID-19 may be more easily passed between people, so please take a test if we ask you to by letter. As businesses and venues start to re-open, it is also important that we all continue to follow the current rules on social distancing and meeting with people from outside our household.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan added: “Additional testing will be taking place in a targeted area within SE16 in Southwark after a confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa was found.
“It’s vital that all those who are asked to take a PCR test in this area do so, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
“This testing is essential to help monitor and supress the spread of the virus.”
The news comes after a ‘significant cluster’ of the COVID-19 South African variant was identified in Lambeth and Wandsworth earlier on Tuesday (April 13).
Forty-four confirmed cases and 30 probable cases have so far been identified in the two boroughs after the first positive result for the variant in the area was returned in early March this year.
Everyone aged eleven and over who lives, works or travels through the boroughs is “strongly encouraged” to take a test even if they have no symptoms.
It is unclear if the Rotherhithe case is related to the Lambeth and Wandsworth cluster.
Last week 2,000 families around South Bermondsey were urged to get tests after a case of the South African variant was found in the area.