Surge-testing for parts of Birmingham after confirmed variant case

Richard Vernalls
·2-min read

Watch: COVID-19 - Surge testing deployed in more parts of Birmingham after case of South African variant discovered

Surge-testing is to begin in another area of Birmingham after a confirmed case of the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa was discovered.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the confirmed case had “self-isolated and their contacts have been identified”.

Health officials added: “Initial investigations indicate that this case is not linked to a case previously identified in the Birmingham and Sandwell areas.”

The testing will be targeted at households in the city’s Alum Rock, Glebe Farm and Tile Cross areas.

Last week, surge-testing was introduced in a different part of the city after a single case of the same variant was uncovered there.

The DHSC said that everybody aged 16 years and over who is contacted from the new areas, announced on Wednesday, would be “strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test”, whether or not they are symptomatic.

For anyone testing positive for a variant, enhanced contact tracing – looking back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission – will be used.

Anyone with symptoms is urged to book a free test online, or by phone.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

Residents are advised to continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of surge-testing.

Last week surge-testing was introduced in the city’s Ladywood, Jewellery Quarter and Soho ward, after a single positive case of the same variant.

Speaking at the time, the city’s public health director Dr Justin Varney said: “Testing is an important part of containing the spread of the virus.

“This new variant from South Africa presents a new risk so it is essential that all adults in the affected areas take up this offer of PCR testing to help us contain the spread quickly and identify any further local cases.

“There is financial and practical support available for those who test positive and have to isolate, and their contacts, and it is vital we all play our part in controlling this new challenge.”

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