In recent weeks, a handful of new coronavirus variants have emerged, sparking fears they may be more transmissible, lethal, or evade immunity acquired by prior infection or vaccines.
On Jan 22, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested there was early evidence that the UK, or Kent, variant may be more deadly, although government scientists stressed that the data so far is uncertain.
Due to new cases of the South African variant being discovered without any link to travel or known cases, door-to-door testing will take place in some parts of England. “Surge testing” will initially take place for residents of the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking , where they will requested to take a PCR test regardless of symptoms.
However, Ruth Hutchinson, director of public health for Surrey, has 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.”
You can check how many cases of coronavirus there are in your local area by using the map tool below: