Surge testing underway in Kingston against Delta variant

Surge testing has been launched in Kingston today (Wednesday, June 9) to combat an outbreak of Covid-19 infections linked to the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus.

After days of rapid rises in the number of new coronavirus infections confirmed in the borough, the government and Kingston Council (RBK) jointly announced mass testing in the borough Wednesday in an effort to curb the rise in new cases.

All residents in Kingston borough aged 11 and over are now being “strongly encouraged” by the government to get a PCR test and isolate for 10 days if they test positive for Covid.

“Cases of coronavirus in Kingston are rising sharply. This is linked to a broader national increase seen in the Delta variant (formerly widely referred to as the ‘Indian variant’). We need to act now to stop the spread, and keep our borough safe,” a spokesperson for RBK said on Wednesday.

“We are stepping up our testing and vaccination programmes for a period of three weeks from Wednesday 9 June, as well as supporting those who test positive through providing practical and financial help to self-isolate.

“Everybody in Kingston can now get PCR tests, whether or not you have symptoms, and we are especially urging everyone aged 19-24 to get tested. We are also increasing testing in schools and workplaces,” they added.

The government’s website also included strongly-worded news of surge testing announced across the borough on Wednesday.

“NHS Test and Trace – in partnership with the local authorities – is launching additional testing and genomic sequencing in Kingston.

“This surge testing is being deployed from today (Wednesday 9 June) following the identification of a small number of confirmed cases of the Delta (B1.617.2) variant.

“All the confirmed cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts have been identified.

“Everyone aged 11 and over who lives or works in this area is strongly encouraged to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not,” a spokesperson said.

As the Surrey Comet reported previously, Kingston and Surbiton MP and Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said on June 2 that surge testing would be introduced in the borough to counter the sharp rise in the infection rate that was the highest in London for a time.

According to the latest Public Health England (PHE) data , the borough’s infection rate stood at 64.2 over the seven days up to June 3, far higher than the UK-wide average per 100,000 people of 45.8.

There were 114 new cases of Covid confirmed in the borough over that time.

“We have seen the highest rates of coronavirus across Kingston emerging amongst younger ages, which is why we are urging people in these groups to get tested,” RBK’s Director of Public Health Iona Lidington said.

“Everybody in the borough, including those not specifically targeted within this initiative, can also get tested at any of our testing sites,” she added.

Click here for where you can get a free PCR test and all the latest Covid-19 information from RBK.

Click here to track new cases of Covid-19 where you live. 

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