Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands has identified a small number of cases of the variant originally identified in South Africa (VOC 20 Dec 02) in parts of Redditch.  As a precaution, and in order to help us better understand any potential infection, we are working with the PHE to carry out enhanced testing of everyone including children in this area.

Everyone who lives, works or will be visiting some identified parts of Redditch and who does not have coronavirus symptoms is being asked to get a PCR test as soon as possible.

You can check if your postcode falls within the surge testing area using the Worcestershire County Council postcode checker.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said:

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the necessary steps to keep the people of Worcestershire safe and to help prevent the spread of the virus. We continue with this work as the country is coming out of lockdown restrictions.

As part of our proactive sequencing checks, we have identified cases of a COVID-19 variant of concern in Redditch. It is right that we should be cautious about new variants, and I appreciate that people may be anxious in the current climate.  Viruses often evolve and this is not unusual. We are carrying out work as a priority to understand the potential risk this variant may cause. It is important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness.

The best way to stop infection remains to stick to the rules – wash our hands, wear a face covering and keep our distance from others. 

It is also important to be tested, if you live within the identified Redditch areas we are checking. Please ensure you have a PCR test to help us find the variant, prevent it spreading and to keep everyone safe from the virus. The more cases we find of the variant, the better chance we have at suppressing it.

Guidance continues to be that any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take a PCR test. People testing positive will be notified quickly, then required to self-isolate, and will have their contacts traced.

You can find more information about the testing, on these pages, including a postcode checker (opens in a new window) to help you find out if you are in an area where we are testing. There is also a questions and answers section to guide you through some of the most frequently asked questions.

The residents of Redditch have worked very hard throughout the lockdown to bring cases of the virus down in the area. Please continue with that good work and help us to find the variant and prevent its spread.