Surge testing to take place in Kirklees after Indian variant identified

Surge testing will take place in Kirklees after cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus were identified.

Almost 3,000 cases of the Indian coronavirus variant of concern have been found in the UK, an increase of 600 since Monday.

Increased testing and vaccinations will take place in Bedford, Burnley, Hounslow, Kirklees, Leicester and North Tyneside, Glasgow and Moray.

Kirklees Council said ''a small number'' of cases were identified in a household in Huddersfield.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council said the infection rate in Kirklees is ''one of the highest in the country'' and urged the public get their vaccination and continue following social distancing rules.

Local MP, Jason McCartney, says people should be ''cautious'' but ''not alarmed'' as surge testing takes place in Kirklees after a small number of the Indian variant were found.

Covid Testing Collection

Kirklees Council is putting a number of mobile collection points across the borough to make it easier for people to get hold of lateral flow tests.

Tests can be collected from sites in Dewsbury, Ravensthorpe, Heckmondwike, Honley, Huddersfield, and Saville Town.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: "In addition to getting vaccinated and always remembering hands, face, space, another great way you can help reduce the spread of Covid-19 in your community is getting a rapid lateral flow test twice a week if you are not showing any symptoms.

"Asymptomatic testing helps us identify people who are infectious and could spread the infection to others unknowingly. This is particularly important with restrictions now starting to ease and it now being much more likely to come into contact with people from other households."

On Thursday, it was announced that Britain's vaccination programme is to be given a "turbo-boost" in a “race” to vaccinate its population in order to outrun the threat of the Indian coronavirus variant.

More than one million people aged 34 and 35 will receive a text message on Thursday or Friday asking them to come forward for their Covid vaccine, NHS England confirmed.

Last week, a ''small number of cases'' of the Indian strain of coronavirus were found in York. It's thought the localised outbreak could be down to foreign travel.

The latest developments came after Boris Johnson said the Government was increasingly confident that vaccines will work against the Indian strain.However, today the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the the race between the virus and the vaccine has ''gotten a whole lot closer."

  • What is the Indian variant?

The B1617.2 strain was designated as a "variant of concern" on May 7, but experts had been investigating it before then.

The highly transmissible strain is now the dominant coronavirus in Bolton and Blackburn. The most recent figures, covering the period between April 22 and May 5, show 7% of travellers arriving from India tested positive for coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister defended the Government's actions over restrictions on Indian travel.

He told reporters that India was put on the red list ''before it was a variant under investigation.''