Concerns have been raised today after a COVID-19 variant, thought to have originated in South Africa, was discovered in a number of people in England.

The government has announced that community household testing will be rolled out in the following areas, in an attempt to reduce the risk of further transmission:

  • London – W7 (Ealing), N17 (Haringey) and CR4 (Croydon)
  • West Midlands – WS2 (Walsall)
  • East of England – EN10 (Broxbourne)
  • South East – ME15 (Maidstone) and GU21 (Guildford)
  • North West – PR9 (Preston)

There have been concerns over variants such as the South African one over recent weeks, with worries that the vaccines we are currently using could be less effective against these strains.

The Department for Health and Social Care said: “There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is more serious than others, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will lead a COVID-19 briefing from Downing Street at 5pm and this news is expected to be the main topic of discussion.