Bolton surge testing as India variant cases rise

Surge testing is to be rolled out in Bolton, which has one of the highest rates of the India variant of Covid in England. Everyone living or working in the Rumworth, Deane or Great Lever areas is being urged to get tested. Public Health England (PHE) said the majority of the variant cases were in north-west England – predominantly Bolton – and London.

Bolton now has the second highest coronavirus rate in the country. There were 245 positive tests in Bolton in the week ending 1 May. The council is setting up mobile testing units at Memory Lane Wedding Venue, Gilnow Lane and Makkah Mosque in Grecian Crescent. This is based on evidence which suggests it is as least as transmissible as the Kent variant, though it does not carry a specific E484K mutation that has been worrying experts. According to PHE, cases involving the variant have increased to 520 from 202 over the last week and almost half the cases are related to travel or contact with a traveller. The variant cases are spread across the country. However, the majority are in the North West (predominantly Bolton) and London, where there has also been increased transmission. The DHSC said enhanced contact tracing would be used for those testing positive with a variant of concern. People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home.