South African Strain of Covid-19 Found in Ealing

People living and working in Hanwell and West Ealing urged to get tested

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People living and working in Hanwell and West Ealing areas are being urged to get tested for coronavirus after a resident tested positive for the South African strain of the disease which is feared to spread much more quickly.

Ealing Council has made an urgent call after the discovery of the resident, who is not being identified, and was informed by Public Health England last week.

It is however believed this person tested positive for the virus at the end of December despite not having travelled to South Africa, nor had they been in contact with anyone who had.

Now approximately 5,500 households in the W7 and W13 areas are being asked to book a test to find out if the South African strain is present in the area in a bid to contain any further cases.

This is for residents over the age of 18, living or working in the area that borders Hanwell and West Ealing town centres and nearby areas, to take a PCR Covid-19 test which is analysed in a lab.

A council spokesperson said the aim is to test as many people as possible living in the area at least once in the next two weeks.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said, “I know people will be concerned to hear that a member of our community had the South African strain of the virus last month. I am very pleased that they have made a full recovery and want to thank them for staying at home during the self-isolation period which should have helped to lessen the spread.

“I urge people living or working in the area with or without symptoms to get tested so that any others with this variant can be identified to protect them, their loved ones and the wider community.

“The Government has told us that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.

“Other than getting tested or other essential reasons, all residents are urged to follow the lockdown rules and stay home, wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from others and wear a face covering.”

Free home tests will be sent to residents in the affected area with all residents expected to complete it and hand it back to the collection service.

A new walk-through mobile testing centre for people without symptoms is also open from February 1, at Dean Gardens Car Park, Leeland Terrace in West Ealing, to make it easier for residents to get tested.

Ealing Council is planning a public meeting for residents on the issue this week with further details to be announced.

Public Health England London’s regional director, Professor Kevin Fenton, added: “The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant originating in South Africa here in London.

“I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.

“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the national lockdown guidance that is in place – stay at home as much as possible, limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”

To book a test click here.

For more information about testing taking place call the Ealing Together helpline on 020 8825 7170.


Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter

February 1, 2021

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