Everyone over the age of 11 who lives or works in Lambeth is being asked to take a PCR test for COVID-19 after new cases of the variant first identified in South Africa were found in the borough.
Lambeth Council says that the additional testing will help quickly identify any further cases and help limit any potential spread. Eight additional testing sites have opened across Lambeth from Monday and people are encouraged to get a test as soon as possible, even if they have no symptoms.
It is important people take a PCR test as these can identify specific variants. Rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests are also widely available but can only determine positivity for Covid-19, not specific variants.
Tests are available across the borough – including at St John's Waterloo – with details of your nearest test centre on www.lambeth.gov.uk/enhancedtesting or by calling 119. There are also walk-in appointments in Lambeth and home tests available.
You can book online on someone else's behalf if they can't do so themselves. People who are unable to book online, and don't know someone who can book for them, can call 020 7926 5559 seven days a week from 10am to 4pm for help.
If you do have Covid-19 symptoms get tested at one of several symptomatic local test sites. You must book an appointment at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.
For people who do test positive, Lambeth has a COVID-19 self-isolation support service for those who need it. That includes payments of up to £500 for residents on low incomes. To find out more call 0800 054 1215, 9am to 5pm, seven days a week or visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/self-isolate-help
The Director of Public Health for Lambeth, Ruth Hutt, said: "It is vital that all Lambeth residents take an asymptomatic PCR test so that we can identify all cases in order to stop the spread of this variant of concern.
"Alongside taking a PCR test we are asking everyone who lives and work in the borough to continue following the guidance in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. That includes limiting your contacts with other people, washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, keeping your distance and covering your face.
"If you test positive for COVID-19 via a PCR test or rapid lateral flow test it is crucial that you self-isolate so you don't pass on the virus, and support is available to help you do that."
Anyone who is over 18 and has no symptoms of COVID-19 can also collect up to seven free rapid response lateral flow devices (LFDs) per household when they take their test. These tests do not help track the variant first identified in South Africa, but are still useful in monitoring the spread of the virus, and stopping further infections.
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