Testing ramped up after South African variant identified

By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter

Coronavirus testing in the Wimbledon Park area will be ramped up after the South African variant of the virus was identified.

Enhanced testing to track the variant will run for a week from today.

Public Health England has identified a case of the South African variant of Covid-19 with no links to recent travel in early February.

Wimbledon Park is the second area in Merton to be part of the national enhanced testing programme following Pollards Hill earlier this month.

Merton Council is set to distribute 5,000 tests in a week and is asking anybody over 16 who lives, works or travels to the Wimbledon Park area to get a test.

A mobile testing unit will be open at Wimbledon Park Golf Club in Home Park Road from 8am-3pm daily until Thursday, March 4. Pre-booking is required at 

A pick up and drop off centre has also been set up at Christ the King church hall in Crescent Gardens from 8.30am-6pm until Friday, March 5.

The enhanced testing does not have any impact on current lockdown rules.

Council leader, Mark Allison, said: “I’d like to reassure those in the Wimbledon Park area over this testing programme. Enhanced testing is to stop any potential spread, and doesn’t mean there is any current outbreak happening in the area.

“I’d also like to thank everyone in advance for their support – Merton is a great place, as we saw from the response to enhanced testing in Pollards Hill recently, which really reassured people and has so far found no new cases of the variant. I have no doubt residents in Wimbledon Park will be equally supportive.”

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