|Huge Demand for South African Variant Testing in West Ealing|
Slots fully booked on first day of operation of new centre
Some Hanwell and West Ealing residents who have tried to book a test for the South African strain of coronavirus have been unable to due to lack of slots available, Ealing Liberal Democrats have warned.
Lib Dem leader Gary Malcolm said multiple residents have reported issues trying to book a slot at Dean Gardens Car Park testing unit – which was set up specifically for those living and working in the W7 and W13 postcodes, with no symptoms of coronavirus, to get tested.
The mass testing call comes as a resident was discovered to have had the South African strain of the virus, which is feared to be more contagious. But council officials have said there is currently no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness or that the regulated vaccines would not protect against it.
According to the Lib Dem group a larger van has been requested to be used at the mobile testing site in Leeland Terrace in order to increase capacity.
Ealing Council also announced on 1 February that home testing kits will be sent out to around 5,500 households believed to be in the affected area.
From Wednesday, 3 February, the kits will be delivered door-to-door to all homes within these specific W7 and W13 areas, and then will be collected directly from the households.
But Cllr Malcolm warned: “People are worried about a new variant spreading in our communities and want to be reassured by being tested.
“The Government needs to increase testing capacity quickly in order to trace and isolate every contact who may have Covid without knowing it.
“We all must follow the lockdown rules to keep each other safe. If you live in the Hanwell or West Ealing area, please check to see if you can be tested either at home or when more capacity becomes available.”
Ealing Council was contacted for comment.
For more information about testing taking place call the Ealing Together helpline on 020 8825 7170.
To find out more on the council’s response click here.
To book a test click here.
Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter
February 3, 2021