A DOOR-TO-DOOR testing programme is being launched among certain Woking neighbourhoods, after a specific COVID-19 variant has been identified from two positive tests in the area.

The variant is known as the SARS-CoV-2 variant, which originated in South Africa. The residents who tested positive have no links to travel or previous variant cases.

“It’s really important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry,” said Ruth Hutchinson, director of public health for Surrey.

“This is a precautionary measure – the more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at stopping it from spreading further. By playing your part and taking the test, you’ll be helping to keep your community and your loved ones safe.”

Thousands of residents within selected areas of Goldsworth Park, St Johns and Knaphill will be visited by a member of the testing team who will leave enough kits for everyone in the household to complete a swab. Kit deliveries are due to start from Tuesday 2 February. All members of a household are requested to carry out a COVID-19 PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction), whether they have symptoms or not.

This will allow Surrey's Local Resilience Forum – a multi-agency partnership made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services and local authorities – to work with Public Health England, NHS Test & Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to closely monitor any community spread of the new variant, and restrict further transmission.

Residents in the selected areas, and across Woking, should remain calm and continue to follow the national restrictions that are currently in place, said a council spokesman.

Further information, including an interactive map of the selective area, are available at www.woking.gov.uk/surgetesting

For more on this story, see the 4 February edition of the News & Mail this Thursday