Extra testing and genomic sequencing are taking place across parts of South London, mainly in the boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth, where a cluster of cases of the mutant virus have been found since early March.
To date, 44 confirmed cases and 30 probable cases have been found, the DHSC said, adding that all identified cases are isolating or have completed their isolation, and their contacts have been traced and asked to isolate.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, said the cluster of cases in South London is “significant” and urged people in the local area to “play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community.”
The government said everybody aged 11 years and over who resides in, works in, or travels through these boroughs is “strongly encouraged” to take a COVID-19 PCR test, even if they are not showing any symptoms.
Dr. Hopkins said: “Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms. By taking part you can protect yourselves and your loved ones and help us identify any possible new cases that would otherwise be missed, preventing further transmission and saving lives.”