COVID-19: 'Surge testing' over South Africa variant takes place in Woking

·2-min read

A huge effort to halt the spread of the more infectious South Africa coronavirus variant is under way in Woking.

Of the 105 cases, 11 of them identified over the last five or six days have been found to be infected with the COVID-19 variant - despite having no travel links - meaning all those over the age of 16 in affected areas will be asked to take a PCR test.

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Some residents in Woking are feeling "really concerned" and "anxious" about the new variant as mass-testing begins in their town.

Sonya Thorley told Sky's Milena Veselinovic: "I am feeling really concerned about this variant - I follow the news every single day.

"I had COVID back in November, we caught it from the children's school so we're very anxious we've got to do the test again.

"And I just can't believe that this has been happening for such a long time.

"But I think that it's good that they have come out and reached us quite quickly to get the tests out and that all of us are getting tested... so I think it's great.

Mark and Natasha Wallace are from South Africa but have been in Woking for five months, and haven't travelled since.

Mark told Sky News: "Look, we've been in this situation in two different countries I think everybody's feeling nervous, that's just the way it is.

"This testing programme that has been rolled out, that we've been part of, helps allay some of those fears.

"We've been doing our part to stay inside as much as we can, if this is going to help the process then we're happy to do it."

Natasha added: "We're just happy to do our part so that kids can be out - it's been hard, home-schooling has been tough. We have a little girl and a baby."

Volunteers and furloughed workers have been "happy to do their part" at a Woking test site.

Jack Gallop, who is a council employee and has been handing out tests today, said: "Duty calls to come and help out. Most people are happy to help. We've got plenty of staff, it hasn't been an issue getting volunteers. It's a global pandemic at the end of the day, it's time to step up and help out."

Natalie Kirk added: "I want to do my part really, to help the community and help beat this pandemic. The more we do it together the more we're going to beat it quicker and hopefully get back to normal.

"I'm furloughed at the moment so I'm using my time to help others."