United Kingdom rolls out ‘surge testing’ for South African Covid variant

United Kingdom rolls out ‘surge testing’ for South African Covid variant

Toronto Public Health says it also believes a COVID-19 outbreak at a meat production facility is linked to United Kingdom variant - with two people testing positive for the strain out of a total of 78 confirmed cases.

Households in the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking will have a COVID-19 PCR test posted through their letterbox and be asked to take it - regardless of whether they have symptoms or not - from today.

The news comes after SC last week confirmed the country's first cases of a worrisome coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.

Public Health England's Dr Susan Hopkins said three different vaccines trialled so far had shown effectiveness against the South African variant at a level higher than the minimum standard set by the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.

The N501Y mutation, which is also found in the Kent variant, means it can bind to cells more easily and is more infectious.

He said the first good news of the day was the arrival of the vaccines.

"We have now passed the peak of the second wave", Ramaphosa said. Meanwhile, early results from Moderna suggest its vaccine is still effective against the South Africa variant.

- How much is known about which vaccines work against the SA variant?

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he said: "The most important thing is that people in the postcode areas outlined need to take extra special precautions".

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Eleven cases of the variant have been identified over the last five or six days in people who have no links to travel, suggesting it may be spreading in communities.

Mr Hancock said 9.2 million people have now received a first dose of a COVID vaccine, including nearly nine in 10 of all those aged over 80 and more than half of those in their 70s.

But several laboratory studies have found that it reduces vaccine and antibody therapy efficacy.

Positive tests in the areas will be sequenced to identify any further spread of the variant.

"There is now no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe", he said.

He said that if it gains approval, the Valneva vaccine will be manufactured in Livingston in Scotland.

During a visit to the Al Hikmah vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire, on Monday, Boris Johnson told reporters: "We are confident that all the vaccines that we are using provide a high degree of immunity and protection against all variants". The government has been accelerating its vaccine rollout programme with the aim of gradually lifting the lockdown restrictions from next month.

"We have done so knowing that the effects of an uncontrolled pandemic would not only cause great human suffering now but could potentially cause our economy irreversible damage", Ramaphosa said.

"The speed and scale at which new vaccines have been developed is unprecedented in human history and represents the monumental progress that humanity has achieved in the face of a common threat", he said.

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