Surge testing began in Wandsworth and Lambeth today, after 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases of the South African coronavirus variant were detected across the boroughs.
The Department for Health and Social Care released a statement last night announcing that NHS Test and Trace is providing additional testing and genomic sequencing across Wandsworth and Lambeth, confirmed in tweets by the councils.
All cases are currently isolating or have completed their isolation, with their contacts also being asked to isolate.
This comes as the country cautiously re-opened pubs and non-essential retail on Monday.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser for NHS Test and Trace said: “The cluster of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa found in parts of South London, predominantly the Lambeth and Wandsworth areas is significant.
“It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.
“PCR testing is now available for all and I would strongly encourage everyone to get tested even if they don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus.”
Scientists are concerned that current vaccines may be less effective against the variant first identified in South Africa.
People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home.