Residents in Tottenham Hale are being asked to take a Covid-19 test following the discovery of a small number of cases showing the South African variant in the borough.

Anyone living in the Tottenham Hale area (within the N17 postcode area) who do not have any signs of having coronavirus are being offered the chance to take a PCR test.

The PCR test, which is normally available only for people who have a new cough, a high temperature or a loss of change of their sense of smell or taste, is considered the gold standard.

Over the next few days, teams will be going door to door offering households home testing kits to all over 16s.

A Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) will also be in operation in the area. It is temporarily stationed at the Tottenham Green Leisure Centre, 1 Philip Lane, N15 4JA.

In addition to being tested for Covid-19, positive cases will be examined to determine which strain of the virus the person has been infected with.

This will help to see how far – if at all – the South African variant has spread in the community.

By identifying people who have Covid-19, particularly those who are unable to stay at home for work, it will reduce the spread of the virus.

Anyone told to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Service may be able to claim a £500 payment to help them to isolate if they are losing income from work and receive an eligible Department for Work and Pensions benefit.

If they do not receive one of the eligible benefits they may qualify for support of up to £500 under our discretionary policy.

Dr Will Maimaris, Haringey’s Director of Public Health, said:

“Cases without a clear link to foreign travel have been identified in one household in Haringey. The Household affected successfully completed their self-isolation, and there is no evidence that they have passed the infection on.

“We are currently investigating ways in which they could have picked it up, but there is no evidence yet that they did so in the borough. The South African variant of Covid-19 is much more infectious than the original virus – which means it can spread more easily, like the new UK variant that has been dominant in recent weeks.

“It is essential therefore that as many local people as possible take a test for us to see how far – if at all – it has spread.

“For everyone who tests positive and has to self-isolate that is one less person in the community passing it to neighbours or customers. Although we are in a national lockdown, you are still allowed out of your home for specific reasons including getting a test.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director at Public Health England, said:

“The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant originating in South Africa here in London. I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.

“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the national lockdown guidance that is in place – stay at home as much as possible, limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”

Anyone who has symptoms should still book a test online or via NHS 119. These will take place at your nearest test centre.

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