Surge testing in Sandwell after South African variant found

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A mobile testing centre will be open between 09:00 and 15:00 seven days a week for walk-in tests and booked drive-in appointments

Surge testing will be carried out after a case of the South African variant of Covid-19 was identified in Sandwell.

A mobile testing unit has been set up and people over the age of 16 are being asked to get tested, whether they have symptoms or not.

The tests will focus on streets in Oldbury and Tipton within the wider DY4 7, DY4 8 and B69 2 postcodes.

Sandwell Council said it has traced people who might have met the individual and asked them to isolate.

The person is said to be "well" and Public Health England said the case was identified through "routine genomic sequencing".

The testing area will cover streets loosely between Birmingham Canal in the north, New Birmingham Road in the south, Coneygree Road in the west and Vaughan Trading Estate in the east.

The mobile testing unit will be set up at the PureGym car park in Dudley Port for walk-in tests and appointments.

Deputy council leader Maria Crompton said: "I know this news will cause concern. Our priority is to keep our communities and especially our most vulnerable residents safe."

There will be no additional restrictions or lockdown measures in the Oldbury and Tipton areas, the local authority said.

Latest figures show the rate of coronavirus cases in Sandwell per 100,000 is 91.9, down from 97.4 in the previous seven days.

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