COVID-19 “Kent” Variant: Urgent testing programme starts in part of our neighbourhood

The coronavirus is constantly changing and mutating, which means there will often be new strains detected. A small number of cases of the variant first found in Kent, have been found in parts of Manchester. Plans are being put in place now for extra testing in your area to investigate if the strain has spread further.

We know all viruses change over time so there is no reason to be concerned that this strain is more severe than others – or that vaccinations won’t work – but it’s important that Public Health England can track how any new variants are spreading.

From Tuesday 9 February,  Manchester City Council will be setting up extra testing sites in the Moss Side, Whalley Range, Fallowfield and Hulme areas. Street teams will be knocking on doors to ask people over the age of 16 who live in post code areas M14 4, M14 7, M15 5, M15 6, M16 7, M16 8 to take a test. This enhanced community testing is for people who don’t have symptoms.

You will be notified by letter if you should go for surge testing, which will run from two test sites initially from 10am-5pm this week up to, and including, Sunday. The sites are Our Lady’s RC Church, Raby Street, M16 7JQ and also Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurdwara Temple, 15 Monton Street, M14 4LS. (The church will not be available on Sunday for testing and the temple will be closed for prayer 12-1pm on Friday

The results will take a few days to come back but you don’t need to isolate while you wait for them. You only need to isolate if you have symptoms or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you are unable to attend one of the testing sites then the Council can arrange a home test kit to you.

If a person tests positive, has any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate for 10 days immediately.

In the meantime, it remains really important that everybody continues to follow the usual rules to keep us all safe:

  • Maintain distance from people who don’t live with you.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Wear a face covering when necessary.
  • If you are contacted to receive a vaccination, please keep your appointment.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should arrange a test straight away and stay at home