England’s Health minister Matt Hancock has asked thousands of residents in parts of England to comply with a new slate of testing following the discovery of the South African variant of COVID-19 in their locations. Hancock has asked for compliance to the request for testing even if persons are asymptomatic; this surge testing he says will break the chain of transmission.
Reuters reports that,
“Eleven people in different regions of England have tested positive for the South African Coronavirus variant without having any links to people who have travelled.”
Since December 22, 105 cases of the South African variant have been identified by Public Health England. The nature of this variant has caused questions to be raised about vaccine efficacy.
The presence of the variant in persons who have not travelled is indicative that it may be more widespread than thought said Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading. Clarke further stated that
“This spread, even if small in scale, needs to be brought under control quickly, so Public Health England’s house-to-house checks and intensive testing are the right thing to do”