Surge Covid tests rolled out in parts of Hampshire to catch cases of Indian variant

SURGE Covid tests have been rolled out in parts of Hampshire in a bid to catch cases of the Indian variant.

NHS Test and Trace – in partnership with the local authority – is launching new additional testing and genomic sequencing targeting north east Hampshire – including the Hart District, Rushmoor Borough and the Surrey border.

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This surge testing is being deployed following the identification of a small number of confirmed cases of the variant first identified in India, B1.617.2.

All the confirmed cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts have been identified.

Everyone aged 12 and over who lives or works in these postcodes is strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test from Wednesday 26 May, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

Further targeted testing is also being deployed at a school in the area, which starts today.

The local authority is endeavouring to contact to anyone who should be tested.

Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern (VOC).

This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period to determine the route of transmission.

By using PCR testing, positive results are sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify Covid-19 cases with a variant of concern and then prevent their spread.

If you have symptoms you should book a free test online or by phone. You can then go to a testing site or have a kit sent to your home.

If you have no symptoms, you should visit the local authority’s website for more information.

People in this area should continue to make use of free twice-weekly rapid tests, commonly known as lateral flow devices, alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.

The news comes as it was revealed yesterday that vaccines do work against the Indian variant.


Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both give a high level of protection after two doses.

Pfizer was 88 per cent ­effective after two jabs while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

Both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50 per cent against the Kent strain.

Professor Susan Hopkins, PHE's Covid-19 strategic response director, said the data trend was "quite clear" and heading in the "right direction".

More to follow…

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