Targeted local COVID testing coming to Ruislip to suppress spread of variant
Extensive tracking of COVID-19 has identified a single case of the variant first discovered in South Africa in Ruislip.
This case cannot be traced back to international travel, and the infected person has completed self-isolation in line with government guidance and robust contact tracing has taken place to trace their contacts and ask them to self-isolate.
Working in partnership with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, every person aged over 16 living and working in a targeted area within the HA4 postcode is being asked to take a PCR COVID-19 test, 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.
Between Monday 10 and Sunday 23 May, Hillingdon Council will be offering additional PCR testing for people without symptoms living or working in the targeted area.
This testing will be available at South Ruislip Young People's Centre, Victoria Road, HA4 0JE or Haste Hill Golf Course, The Drive, Northwood, HA6 1HN daily between 8am and 8pm. Attendees are required to book an appointment in advance at www.hillingdon.gov.uk/enhanced-testing.
Anyone who is unable to attend a testing site is asked to contact the council's Community Hub (details below) for a home visit to be arranged.
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.
All positive test results in the targeted area 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 enhanced testing in the HA4 area (including a map of the targeted area), visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/enhanced-testing.
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "I ask people living and working in the targeted area to get tested as soon as possible.
"Like we recently saw in Hayes, this enhanced testing has been triggered by a single case, and this is a precautionary measure to better understand the extent of this variant in the community. It will also enable us to quickly support those required to self-isolate.
"Thank you to residents across the borough for remaining vigilant and continuing to follow the government guidelines as society reopens."
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Director at Public Health England, said: "The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant here in Ruislip. I urge everyone in the HA4 targeted area to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.
"The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place - limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance, cover your face and let fresh air in. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus."