Surge Testing and Vaccination To Begin in Hounslow Borough

51 cases of the new Indian variant have been identified in the area

Residents in south west London queueing during surge testing

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The Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has that surge testing and increased vaccination will be taking place in the London Borough of Hounslow to help tackle the variant of concern first identified in India.

In an interview on BBC Radio London with Vanessa Feltz this Thursday morning (20 May), the council leader Steve Curran said that 51 cases of the variant had been identified in the borough although hospitalisations for Covid-19 were currently in single figures.

The announcement means that a significant enhancement of the testing and vaccination programme will take place in the borough with residents urged to take the PCR test rather than the lateral flow variety as the latter does not allow for the additional analysis needed to identify new variants.

During a recent surge testing programme in boroughs in south west London everyone over the age of 11 who lives, works, or studies in the borough was urged to take a test.

If anyone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace when contacted. Positive tests will then be examined in a laboratory to determine whether any of them are the variant first identified in South Africa.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England, said, “In London, we are continuing with measures to contain cases of the variant of concern first identified in India which have been detected throughout the city, including targeted testing and enhanced contact tracing.

“Rates of COVID-19 in London are low overall but we are continuously assessing local situations and will act early and decisively where necessary. As part of the latest review, surge testing and increased vaccination is being mobilised in Hounslow to help us track the spread of this variant, reduce the risk of further transmission and get vaccine protection to more residents, more quickly.

“But we need everyone to help out by coming forward for testing when asked, taking up the vaccine if eligible and sticking to the basics of Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air, especially as we get out and about in London.”

Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill, said, “More than 130,000 Hounslow residents (approximately 48% of the total population) have been vaccinated since December, but we cannot be complacent, and we know there is still a large number of eligible adults in the borough who have yet to be vaccinated. We are doing everything we can to protect our residents and that is why we welcome this announcement of additional resources to vaccinate all remaining eligible adults in our borough.

"There is no immediate cause for serious concern, but equally this is not a time for complacency. This commitment to vaccination in Hounslow comes in addition to the significant vaccination and testing work already being done by the Council and our NHS colleagues right across the borough.

“If we are to prevent further infection rate rises, we need all residents to become part of the solution and get vaccinated. Importantly, we want to reach out again to those who, for whatever reason, have not yet been vaccinated. We are here to answer any questions you may have and to support you in any way we can."

"We are waiting for detailed final plans to be agreed by all parties and will move to make those operational as soon as possible in the coming days."

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May 20, 2021

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