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Surge testing to take place in Canterbury after rise in new COVID variant cases

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Original article from Kent Live

Surge testing is to take place in Canterbury after a district saw a rise in the new coronavirus variant first detected in India.

The new 'enhanced' test will be rolled out in the district from today (June 1).

The new B.1.617.2 strain of COVID is believed to be just as, if not more infectious than the so-called Kent variant.

Health officials have reassured the public that overall cases remain low.

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Testing units will be open seven days a week from 9am – 7pm for walk-in appointments at the following locations up until June 5, New Dover Road Park and Ride, Sturry Road Park and Ride, University of Kent Canterbury Campus, at the Keynes College car park, the University of Kent's Canterbury Campus, Darwin College car park, and the Wincheap Park and Ride

Children aged 13-15 can go to get tested, but must be accompanied by a parent or carer.

Those that take part will get their result in the usual way, through the NHS Test and Trace system, whether it is positive or negative. You are also not expected to isolate whilst you await the outcome of your test.

Kent’s interim Director of Public Health, Dr Allison Duggal said: “It’s important to stress the number of cases of the B.1.617.2 variant of concern in the county are low – and that those identified to date have isolated appropriately, with their contacts traced and testing offered.

“But, in line with several other local authorities in England who are carrying out enhanced testing, we don’t want to take anything for granted.

"Working closely with Public Health England and Canterbury City Council, we are adopting a highly precautionary approach, continually assessing the situation and acting quickly to tackle outbreaks before they have a chance to spread.

“If you live in the relevant postcodes, I urge you to get tested at one of the mobile testing sites in Canterbury even if you have had one or two COVID vaccinations.

"If everyone plays their part by continuing to follow the public health advice in their local area, and getting vaccinated when invited, we can break chains of transmission and keep Kent safe.”

Councillor Rachel Carnac, deputy leader of Canterbury City Council, said: “Whether you live, work or study in the affected postcodes, please do your bit and get tested to help us combat this virus at such a vital time.

“We’ve come this far because we have pulled together so brilliantly well and we have to keep that going.”

Dr Duggal added: “There’s also much we can do to protect ourselves against all COVID variants, from following the ‘hands-face-space-and let in fresh air’ guidance to making ‘test-record-repeat’ part of our weekly routine and getting vaccinated when it’s our turn.

"Being vigilant is key to helping the county stay on track to recovery.”

People who do not live in the two Canterbury postcodes where enhanced testing is taking place are encouraged to book a test at one of Kent's symptom-free testing centres.

To find out more details and to book a test please go here.

Original Article