Surge testing across Redbridge after two new cases of South African variant found

People take part in coronavirus surge testing on Clapham Common, south London. Thousands of resident

More than 13,000 people across four IG postcodes and eight wards across Redbridge will be asked to take part in surge testing after two new cases of the South African variant were found. - Credit: PA

Surge testing is set to start in eight Redbridge wards after two isolated, non-travel-related cases of the South African Covid-19 variant were identified in the borough.

Up to 13,000 people aged 11+ living or working in the affected areas will be encouraged to take a PCR test over the next two weeks from today (Friday, April 30):

These include areas of the IG1 postcode covering Cranbrook, Valentines and Ilford Town wards; areas of the IG6 postcode covering Aldborough, Barkingside, Fairlop and Fullwell wards; and small areas within IG5 and IG7 postcodes covering Hainault and Chigwell areas within Hainault ward.

A single case of the South African variant led to surge testing in February in Loxford and Clementswood. 

Everyone who lives within the enhanced testing programme areas will receive a letter in the post from Redbridge Council during the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.

The letter will explain how to get tested and the support available.

The council's door-to-door Covid community testing team will be offering PCR home testing in the affected areas, regardless if residents have symptoms or not.

The test will be delivered to front doors by a member of the council's testing team wearing PPE and carrying a Redbridge Council ID.

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People who do not have symptoms can also get tested seven days a week by visiting Ken Aston Square (140 High Street, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 2EA) from 9am to 3pm, Mildmay Road Car Park (1 Mildmay Rd, Ilford, IG1 1HW) from 8am to 8pm, or Gants Hill Library Car Park (Cranbrook Road, Ilford, IG2 6SX) from 8am to 8pm.

The weekly number of Covid-19 cases in Redbridge is falling and the latest figures show the infection rate as 25.2 per 100,000 people for the seven days ending on April 25.

Redbridge's director of public health, Gladys Xavier, urged everyone who lives or works in the affected areas to take a test to identify if there are any further cases.

"By taking a test, you’ll be playing your part in helping to keep your community and loved ones safe. It is important to continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face – and, if you are eligible, to get vaccinated when you are invited to by the NHS.

"Regular testing for Covid-19 also continues to be important.”

Completed test kits will be collected by the engagement team and sent for analysis.

The tests, delivery and collection service is free.

Anyone with symptoms should wait for the delivery of a home test kit. Anyone who tests positive for any variant of Covid-19, or who has been in close contact with someone who has the virus, must self-isolate.

People who need to self-isolate may be able to claim a £500 self-isolation support payment from the government. 

Anyone with symptoms - new continuous cough, high temperature or a loss of taste or smell - must get tested and self-isolate while awaiting the results.

Book a test online at or by calling 119.  

Anyone who does not have symptoms can now get a regular rapid test, regardless of where they live.

People who cannot work from home, school children, students, and those who live with anyone attending school or college or working in such a setting should take a rapid test twice a week.

Residents living in the areas offering enhanced Covid-19 testing are advised they can still vote safely in person, as normal, at the London Assembly elections on May 6. 

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