No surge testing in North Lincs despite being on Covid watchlist

Surge testing will not be rolled out in North Lincolnshire yet – despite the area being placed on a Covid watch list. More vaccines are being made available to people in areas with spikes of the new Indian variant, where the government has also promised increased testing sites. North Lincolnshire is now on a list of areas that are being monitored due to its recent increase in cases – the only region in the Humber to be.

The increase is thought to be linked to extensive testing. South Holland in Lincolnshire, Sheffield and Leeds are also being carefully watched. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today Bedford, Leicester and Glasgow are on the list of places that will be receiving immediate support.

However, North Lincolnshire has missed out on it, despite health bosses confirming that the Indian variant has been detected locally.

Queues of people at a Covid testing centre in Formby in Liverpool, Merseyside, where surge testing has been rolled out

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Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Hancock said: “We have used the extensive bio-security surveillance system that we have built and new techniques to identify the areas we are most concerned about where we will now surge testing and vaccinations further. “As a result of all this analysis, I can tell the House that we will now have surge testing and vaccinations in Bedford, Burnley, Hounslow, Kirkless, Leicester and North Tyneside – and we are supporting the Scottish Government, who are taking similar action in Glasgow and Moray.

“What this means in practice is we are putting in place more testing and more testing sites. On vaccinations, we are making more vaccinations available to everyone who is eligible.”

Door-to-door surge testing being rolled out in Bolton

The Indian Covid strain, which is thought to be more transmittable than the Kent one, is causing concern after outbreaks in the north west. The government has warned that future lockdown rules changes on June 21 may be postponed if it can’t be brought under control.

Find the latest coronavirus case statistics in your area

According to the Wellcome Sanger Institute, who track strains of Covid, North Lincolnshire had three cases on the new variant in the two weeks leading up to May 8.

When more recent data is released, it will reveal whether this has increased in the weeks since. However, the Prime Minister has said today there is “increasing confidence” that the coronavirus vaccines are effective against all known variants of the disease – including the Indian variant. North Lincolnshire is thought to have been on watch list for several weeks but officials are confident the disease is not escalating out of control

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