Mass testing in south London after South African coronavirus variant outbreak

London, Apr 13 (EFE).- Authorities have asked everyone over the age of 11 in two south London boroughs to take a PCR test following an outbreak of the South African variant of the coronavirus.

The boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth have a combined population of around 650,000 people. Local health authorities confirmed 44 cases of the South African variant and 30 suspected cases.

“Everybody aged 11 years and over who resides in, works in, or travels through these boroughs is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not,” the UK government said in a statement Monday.

All PCR tests will be sent for genomic sequencing, the statement added.

Dr. Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said: “The cluster of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa found in parts of South London, predominantly the Lambeth and Wandsworth areas is significant.

“It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.”

The mass-testing comes as Covid-19 restrictions were eased in England.

Monday marked the first time in months that pubs and restaurants were allowed to serve food and drink in outdoor areas, while other non-essential businesses like hair and beauty salons were permitted to reopen.

There were celebratory scenes in central London on Monday evening and crowds of young people hit the city’s pubs and bars.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the public to remain cautious. EFE

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