SURGE testing for Covid-19 is underway following the confirmation of a number of cases of the South African variant of coronavirus in Redditch.
Areas affected include parts of Smallwood, Southcrest, areas around Birchfield Road, parts of Headless Cross and nearly all of Webheath.
A mobile testing unit has been deployed at the Abbey Stadium and local people are invited to go along to make sure they are not carriers of the variant.
Home testing kits will also be provided across the affected areas.
Every person living or working in the testing area in Redditch over the age of 16 is strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test this week, even if they are not showing symptoms.
Testing will also be offered to children, however testing of children is at the discretion of parents.
To find out if your postcode is in the test area visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/covid19variant
It is hoped the testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space and following national guidance, help to suppress the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the variant.
If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Dr Kathryn Cobain, director for public health for Worcestershire, said: “There does not appear to be any links to travel and we have no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe than others.
“We will be offering additional testing in specific areas of Redditch to suppress any spread of the virus and I’d ask everyone in the relevant areas to take up this opportunity.
“This is also a reminder to everyone to continue to follow the guidelines and book a Covid-19 test as soon as possible if you are showing symptoms (continuous cough, high temperature and/or loss of taste/smell) and self-isolate until you have received your result.”