SURGE TESTING UNDER WAY IN AREAS OF NORTH WEST WHERE INDIAN VARIANT IDENTIFIED
Surge testing is under way in areas of the North West of England where cases involving the Indian variant of coronavirus are on the increase. The “variant of concern” has been detected in Bolton, Greater Manchester, as well as in Blackburn, Lancashire, and Sefton in Merseyside, which have all seen rates rise rapidly.
Blackburn with Darwen Council initially said on Thursday that it would be offering vaccines to all over-18s from next week following the increase in cases, but later said that, although additional vaccine clinics are being set up, the jab will only be offered to those eligible under current Government guidance.
The area’s director of public health, Dominic Harrison, said on Twitter that the authority had asked the NHS to “surge vaccinate” but the request was refused.
He tweeted: “At the moment the Indian variant is surging in a small number of #localgov areas. These areas have a window of opportunity to control the wider spread across the UK by a mixture of community engagement, surge testing and surge vaccination.
“If the Government stops areas with high #IndianVariant cases from ‘surge vaccinating’ target areas (which will contribute to reduced transmission) – it will reduce our local capacity to control spread.”