A door-to-door testing blitz is getting under way in a bid to find “every single case” of the South African coronavirus variant in England.
On-the-spot doorstep tests, home testing kits and mobile testing units will be deployed to try to reach 80,000 people in eight specific areas.
It follows fears that the more infectious version may be spreading in communities in England.
The health secretary said he wanted to “come down hard” on the variant.
Matt Hancock said that “finding every case” of the variant is the goal, with everyone over 16 in the targeted areas urged to take a test, whether they have symptoms of not.
Gene sequencing has so far uncovered 105 cases of the variant, which like the variant previously discovered in Kent is thought to be more contagious although not more deadly. Eleven of the cases of the South African variant had no link to foreign travel, prompting concerns it is spreading in the community.