Surge Covid testing deployed to new area to stop spread of Indian variant

SURGE testing has been rolled out in another area in England as more cases of the Indian variant are discovered.

Residents in Calderdale in West Yorkshire will be offered PCR tests whether they are showing symptoms or not.

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It was last week reported that cases of the Indian Delta variant had been discovered in the Todmorden area, with Calderdale Council stating it would ramp up testing this week.

Areas where surge testing will take place include Todmorden, Park and Warley wards and everyone over the age of 12 is encouraged to come forward for a swab test.

While surge testing is rolled out, enhanced contact tracing will also be deployed.

Cases who have been identified as having the Indian strain have been told to self isolate and their contacts have been identified.

Om June 5, surge testing was also deployed in Reading and Wokingham to stop spread of Indian variant.

The surge testing in Berkshire is to be rolled out in the RG1 3, RG1 5, RG1 6 and RG1 7 postcodes in Reading, and in the Bulmershe and Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys, and Wescott areas of Wokingham.

The Department of Health has also launched additional testing and genomic sequencing in Bradford, Canterbury and Maidstone after cases of the strain, also known as the Delta variant, were found.

It comes as:

  • Map reveals Indian variant hotspots where Covid strain is dominant
  • Dr Hilary calls for June 21 Freedom Day DELAY amid fears ‘things are getting worse’
  • Tinder and Bumble launch ‘I’ve had a Covid vaccine’ badges to help randy users hook up without fear of catching virus
  • Rise in Covid cases ‘marks start of third wave’ and must delay June 21 unlocking, warns ex-Govt adviser
  • Matt Hancock warned ‘don’t move the goalposts’ as he reveals he’s ‘absolutely open’ to delaying June 21 to July 5


It comes as new data has revealed that the Indian variant has now spread to all parts of the country.

In just two weeks, the strain went from a proportion of 38 per cent to 75 per cent, making it dominant in England.

The data from the Welcome Sanger Institute shows how fast the variant has managed to grip the UK, having only been detected for the first time on April 10.

It's reminiscent of the Alpha (Kent) strain which caused havoc at the end of 2020 when it soared to dominance in a matter of weeks, throwing England into the third lockdown.

Public health director for Calderdale, Deborah Harkins urged people in the area to be cautious.

Speaking over the weekend she said: "To add to the public health advice that we can all follow, we’re providing more testing in Todmorden next week as a preventative measure to help control the spread of the Delta variant.

"If you’re out and about in the good weather this weekend, please make sure you play your part, be vigilant and take extra care.

"By taking preventative action together, through the five big things, we can stop things getting worse."

The data from Sanger comes amid growing pressure to delay the June 21 unlocking in England. 

Calderdale was also named in the data as one of the areas where the Delta variant made up more than 90 per cent of cases in the two weeks to May 29.

The Delta variant is driving the rise in Covid cases, alongside lifting of restrictions.

Experts have said it is now evident the UK is at the start of a third wave and things would only escalate if June 12 went ahead. 

Not only is the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) faster spreading by around 40 per cent, but there is now evidence that it causes more severe disease.

But rising cases is yet to be mirrored by increasing hospital cases, however, with the latest data showing patient numbers have climbed slightly.

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