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     Meya Dadada 
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    Cases of South Africa variant found in Birmingham

    A “small number of cases” of SLOT the South Africa Covid-19 variant have been found, Birmingham City Council says.

    One case was within the Ladywood and Soho & Jewellery Quarter wards and surge testing will be carried out.

    Residents over 16 living or working there were strongly encouraged to take part in door-to-door testing when offered, even if they were not showing symptoms, the authority said.

    Hundreds of cases of the South African variant have been detected in the UK.

    People in the areas should continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test as part of the surge testing, the council said.

    Director of public health for the authority Dr Justin Varney said it was “essential” all adults in the affected areas take up the offer of PCR testing “to help us contain the spread quickly and identify any further local cases”.

    There was financial and practical support available “for those who test positive and have to isolate and their contacts”, he added.

    The council said it was working closely with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to support measures to curb any potential spread of the variant.

    This would include “significantly increasing the testing offer in a targeted and intelligence-led way”.

    This week people in parts of Smethwick were being urged to get tested for coronavirus, after a case of the South Africa variant was detected.

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