UK begins door-to-door testing of 80,000 people to halt South African variant

WOKING, England (Reuters) РVolunteers and police officers in several parts of England began knocking on people’s doors to hand out COVID-19 testing kits on Tuesday to try to halt the spread of a highly infectious variant that originated in South Africa.

The testing surge was announced by the government on Monday after 11 people in different regions tested positive for the variant without having any links to people who had travelled to South Africa.

In total, Britain has found 105 cases of the variant, of which all but those 11 were people who had either been to South Africa or been in contact with someone who had.

The campaign will involve testing 80,000 people across eight different areas — the ones where the 11 concerning cases were found — regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.

The aim is to try to break chains of transmission in the community by identifying people with the variant and requiring them to self-isolate.

The eight areas concerned are three parts of London, two in the southeast of England, one in central England, one in the east and another in the northwest.

In the town of Woking, just to the southwest of London, volunteers or police knocked on every door in the designated area to hand out self-testing kits ready to be collected later in the day.

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