Surge Covid tests rolled out in parts of Canterbury as Indian variant cases continue to climb

MASS testing is being carried out in Canterbury amid a surge in cases of the Indian Covid variant.

Residents living in the CT1 and CT2 postcodes are being urged to get tested at one of five mobile testing centres over the next two weeks.

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People in the Kent city who have symptoms are able to get tested from 9am to 7pm.

It comes after a government adviser warned the June 21 end to lockdown is "likely to be delayed" as cases of the Indian variant soar.

Cllr Rachel Carnac, the Deputy Leader of Canterbury City Council said: "I would really urge all residents that qualify, so that's anyone over the age of 12 that isn't showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

"And even if they've had their vaccinations to come along to one of the park and ride sites in Canterbury, Sturry or here at Wincheap or at New Dover road and have a PCR test."


Meanwhile, Indian variant hotspot Bolton has seen its Covid infection rate plunge more than 10 per cent in less than a week.

A ramped-up vaccination drive and mass testing has led to a huge drop in cases in the Lancashire town in a four-day period.

Earlier this week, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation member Adam Finn warned a delay to this month's reopening is better than having to shut down again.

Asked whether final restrictions should be lifted on June 21, Professor Finn, told LBC radio: "I fear it may be a bad decision to go with it."

Mass testing in Canterbury

Five mobile testing units have been set up at the following sites

  • New Dover Road Park and Ride, CT1 3EL
  • Sturry Road Park and Ride, CT1 1AD
  • University of Kent Canterbury Campus, Keynes College car park, CT2 7NP
  • University of Kent Canterbury Campus, Darwin College car park, CT2 7NY
  • Wincheap Park and Ride, CT1 3TQ

Asked about the businesses which may not survive further delay, he added: "I think they are more likely not to survive if we open up and then shut down again.

"I'm no business person, and shouldn't really be commenting on business, but it seems to me that if we can progressively get back to a place where we're living normally that would be the better thing."

Ministers want to scrap social distancing, but keep face masks and work from home guidance in place after June 21. 

The Indian strain is behind almost three quarters of all cases in the UK and has been found in more than 250 of England's 300-plus authorities. 

But the success of the UK's vaccine rollout is believed to be responsible for recent low death tolls – despite rising cases of the Indian mutation.

Figures show that just two people given both jabs have died with the Indian variant.

Of 5,599 people who went to A&E with severe symptoms from the strain, 177 had received both doses, while 3,400 had not yet had their first jab.

By May 25, 12 people had died of the variant. Eight were unvaccinated, two had a first dose, and two had both doses.

Public Health England analysis has shown that only three per cent of people who caught the mutant strain already had both jabs.

Last week, it was revealed the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines both give a high level of protection after two doses.

Pfizer was 88 per cent ­effective after two jabs while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.

Both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50 per cent against the Kent strain.

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