Everyone in Lambeth should get a Covid-19 test, the council leader has said.
The advice follows the announcement of “the largest surge testing operation to date” after 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases of the Covid variant first identified in South Africa were found in Lambeth and Wandsworth.
The DHSC said the surge testing is aimed at suppressing any possible new cases of the variant, with positive results from PCR testing to be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist labs.
It said all those who have tested positive for the variant, with the first case in the area being found in early March, are isolating or have completed their isolation, and their contacts have been traced and asked to isolate.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said the cluster of cases is “significant”.
Lambeth Council leader, Cllr Jack Hopkins, wrote to residents on Tuesday (April 13) to urge all residents over 11 years of age to take a PCR Covid-19 test in the next week.
“The additional testing being introduced will help quickly identify any further cases and help limit any potential spread.
“Nine additional testing sites have opened across Lambeth and people are encouraged to get a test this week, even if they have no symptoms.
“For people who do test positive, Lambeth has a comprehensive Covid-19 self-isolation support service for those who need it.
“That includes payments of up to £500 for residents on low incomes,” he said.
He also urged residents to continue following national Covid restrictions and to get vaccinated when called by the NHS.
“Covid-19 rates in the borough have fallen significantly since the peak in January and we thank residents and businesses for their incredible commitment to the restrictions, which have allowed that to happen.
“We need to work together so further progress can be made,” Cllr Hopkins said.