The Surrey Local Resilience Forum (SLRF) is working with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care to carry out a localised ‘surge testing’ programme in the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking.

This follows notification that a specific variant of COVID-19 has been identified from two positive tests in the area, in residents who have no links to travel or previous variant cases. The variant is known as the SARS-CoV-2 variant (also known as VOC-202012/02) which originated in South Africa.

Residents within the affected area will be visited, with the request that they carry out a COVID-19 PCR test whether they have symptoms or not.

This will enable us, working closely with PHE, NHS Test & Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to closely monitor any community spread of the new variant, and restrict further transmission.

There is currently no evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 variant causes more severe illness, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.

Residents in the affected areas, and across Woking, should remain calm and continue to follow the national restrictions that are currently in place.

A similar surveillance exercise is expected to extend into the Egham area in the coming days, and residents will be kept informed.

By staying at home, we can all help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you do need to leave your home for essential reasons please ensure to keep your distance, wash your hands and cover your nose and mouth. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.

As has been the case throughout this pandemic, SLRF will do everything possible to support efforts to beat COVID-19 and keep Surrey safe.

Ruth Hutchinson, Director of Public Health for Surrey, said: “This is a precautionary measure – the more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at stopping it from spreading further. By playing your part and taking the test, you’ll be helping to keep your community and your loved ones safe.

“It’s really important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.”

Ruth Hutchinson, Director Public Health for Surrey

 

Dr Alison Barnett, Regional Director at Public Health England South East, 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 Surrey 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 guidance that is in place – 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.”

Additional Information

  • If residents are asked to take a test they do not need to self-isolate as this is a surveillance measure only.
  • Residents with any COVID-19 symptoms should follow national public health advice in the normal way.
  • If residents being asked to take a test have a vaccination appointment they can still attend, unless they have any COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they should follow national public health guidelines.
  • Businesses, care settings, schools and other settings in and around the affected area will be contacted if impacted. If we do not contact you, then you do not need to take any action.
  • Residents outside of the selected area do not need to take any action.

Any residents who wish to authenticate /validate why this person is visiting them can contact the Surrey County Council Community Helpline (0300 200 1008) or Woking Borough Council on 01483 755855.

Our key message remains Stay Home. Please continue encouraging the public to wear a mask, maintain distance and wash their hands. By staying at home, we can all help stop the spread of COVID-19.

As has been the case throughout this pandemic, SLRF will do everything possible to support efforts to beat COVID-19 and keep Surrey safe.