Targeted local surge testing coming to Hayes to suppress spread of COVID-19 variant in Hillingdon
Sunday 11 April: Extensive tracking of COVID-19 has identified a single case of the variant first discovered in South Africa in Hayes. This case cannot be traced back to international travel.
Working in partnership with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, every person aged over 16 living and working in targeted areas within the UB3 postcode is being asked to take a PCR COVID-19 test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not. Even those who have been vaccinated are being encouraged to take a test.
People with symptoms should book a test in the usual way by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.
From Monday 12 April, Hillingdon Council will be offering additional testing for people without symptoms living or working in the targeted areas. 7,000 PCR testing kits will be delivered to homes and businesses in the targeted areas. Testing will also be available for people without symptoms at the existing Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) at the Central Avenue Car Park in Hayes (opposite Botwell Green Sports and Leisure Centre) daily between 8am and 6pm. This site will temporarily be unavailable for people with symptoms. Anyone wishing to get tested at the MTU will be required to book an appointment in advance at www.hillingdon.gov.uk/surge-testing.
There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is more serious than others, or that the regulated vaccines would not protect against it.
Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands, face, space and fresh air, and following national guidance, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the new variant.
From 9 April, all positive test results in the targeted areas will be sequenced to identify any further spread of the variant first discovered in South Africa.
If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Hillingdon Council's COVID-19 Community Hub will be contacting those who test positive to offer a range of support. For more information on this service and the other support available, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/community-support or call 020 3949 5786 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
For more information about the surge testing in the UB3 area (including a map of the targeted areas), visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/surge-testing.
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "Although this was only a single case, it's important that we take robust action to better understand the extent of this variant in the community.
"Understandably, some people may be concerned but there's no reason for alarm and I would like to encourage people living and working in the identified area to get their test as soon as possible.
"Our infection rates are continuing to fall but, unfortunately, in west London they aren't falling as quickly as other parts of London. It is important that residents across the borough remain vigilant and continue to adhere to the rules as society reopens. Please keep washing your hands, covering your face when you're in enclosed public spaces like shops, and remember to stay at least two metres away from anyone you don't live with. By working together, we can help to drive down infections even further and keep Hillingdon safe."