Additional Covid-19 testing is being launched in New Addington and Fieldway from tomorrow (23 February), as part of the national programme to track and suppress the variant of Covid-19 first identified in South Africa.
The area is one of several locations across the country where Public Health England have found evidence of a Covid-19 case with the variant, that cannot be linked back to international travel.
Working in partnership with NHS Test and Trace, Croydon Council is strongly encouraging every person over the age of 16 living in New Addington and Fieldway, to take a PCR Covid-19 test as soon as possible, even if they are not showing symptoms. This includes people who have already been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Additional testing is being made available in the area to enable residents without symptoms to get tested as quickly and easily as possible. From tomorrow, Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) will be located in car parks at Timebridge Centre, Fieldway and Queen Elizabeth Drive, New Addington.
The MTUs will be open 8.30am-3pm, seven days a week. Appointments must be booked in advance through the council website – residents cannot use the national booking system for these tests. For more information and to book visit www.croydon.gov.uk/CovidTest
Also from tomorrow, residents without symptoms can pick up and drop off home testing kits from the Timebridge Centre, Fieldway or New Addington Library, Central Parade from 11am-3pm, Monday –Saturday. They will need to wear a face covering and bring their smart phone if they have one to register their test and proof of address. They can collect and drop off their tests at either site.
Croydon Council will also be going door-to-door, delivering home test kits to some addresses in the area.
Residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow shielding guidance and should not leave their home to get a test.
This additional testing is planned to last for two weeks and will be kept under review. Residents will be asked to take one test during this time.
If you have had a positive Covid-19 test in the last two weeks, you do not need to get tested again now.
Anyone who tests positive by any method must self-isolate immediately and pass on details on their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Positive tests will be sequenced to identify any further spread of the variant, enabling a better understanding of this particular strand of the virus and identifying if there are any more cases in the area.
At present, there are no additional restrictions in place in New Addington and Fieldway. Schools and colleges remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and nurseries remain open. There are no instructions for education settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified. Residents in the area can still leave their homes for essential reasons – for example to work, if they cannot work from home, to attend medical appointments and to get food and other supplies.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health, said: “Following the identification of a Covid-19 case with the variant first identified in South Africa, we are asking everyone living in New Addington to get tested, whether or not they have symptoms.
“By getting tested, you can help to prevent the virus spreading, protecting yourself and your loved ones, while enabling better understanding of this variant. There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant of Covid-19 is more serious than others, or that the vaccine would not protect against it.
“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place – follow the lockdown rules and remember hands, face, space – wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance from others. If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”
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 New Addington and Fieldway. 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”