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Sunday, 03 March 2024
Covid: Southport set for more South Africa variant testing
Covid: Southport set for more South Africa variant testing

Testing for the South Africa Covid variant is to be increased in Southport after a second case was detected.

Sefton Council leader Ian Maher said it was "unconnected" to the town's first case, which has led to urgent testing in the PR9 postcode since Wednesday.

It is part of nationwide measures to counter the variant, which - along with the UK and Brazil strains - is believed to be more contagious.

Targeted tests will be extended to parts of the Cambridge and Dukes wards.

Mr Maher said: "This is not a case of the Covid variant being identified through the dedicated 'surge' testing we have started this week.

"It appears to be an unconnected, historic case that has been picked up through somebody developing coronavirus symptoms and booking a PCR test as they should have done at one of the existing test sites."


He said the second local case was detected when a selection of nationwide PCR tests was examined to identify variants of the virus.

"On being informed of that second case, we were advised to increase the targeted testing area."

He said he was "pleased" with the response in Norwood, where local testing was prioritised earlier this week following the town's first detected case of the South Africa variant.

Extra mobile testing units will be set up in the affected areas along with the delivery and collection of home testing kits.

A team of up to 50 people drawn from Sefton Council and the area's Voluntary Services, including members of Merseyside Police and the fire service, will deliver free test kits to households and businesses.

The council said they would have clear identification and remain outside where possible, while people test themselves, before delivering the swabs to a collection area.