Croydon Council will be working with NHS Test and Trace to launch extra Covid-19 testing in the South Norwood and Thornton Heath area, as part of the national programme to track and identify any further cases of the variant of Covid-19 first identified in Brazil.
This follows the government announcement on 5 March that the area is one of the locations across the country where Public Health England have found evidence of a Covid-19 case with the P1 variant first identified in Manaus, Brazil. At this stage there is no evidence of onwards transmission, but as a further precaution extra testing will introduced, as it has recently been in New Addington and Fieldway. Croydon Council will be asking everyone over the age of 16 in the area to take a PCR Covid-19 test, even if they are not showing symptoms.
From Sunday 7 March, Croydon Council will be going door-to-door delivering home test kits to some households in the area. Further details of the extra testing programme – including other ways residents can get tested – will be shared as soon as they are available.
Any positive tests will be sequenced to identify any further spread of the variant, enabling a better understanding of this particular strand of the virus and verifying whether there are any more cases in the area.
There are no additional restrictions in place in South Norwood and Thornton Heath, nor does this affect pupils’ return to school on Monday – schools, nurseries and colleges will open as planned. Residents in the area can still leave their homes for essential reasons – for example to work, if they cannot work from home, to attend medical appointments and to get food and other supplies.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health, said: “Following the identification of a Covid-19 case with the variant first identified in Brazil, we will be asking everyone living in the South Norwood and Thornton Heath area to get tested, whether or not they have symptoms. We are launching extra testing, delivering home test kits to some households from Sunday, and will share more information as soon as we can.
“By getting tested, you can help to prevent the virus spreading, protecting yourself and your loved ones, while enabling better understanding of this variant. There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant of Covid-19 is more serious than others, or that the vaccine would not protect against it.
“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place – follow the lockdown rules and remember hands, face, space – wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance from others. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”
*This story has been updated from the original version to include the Thornton Heath area.