Surge testing will take place in Brentwood after the South African Covid-19 variant was detected.

Extra testing will be deployed to the CM13 postcode of Brentwood after one positive case of the variant was found in the area.

People living within the CM13 postcode area are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test when offered, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

Every person aged 16 and over who lives or works in CM13 should get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.

There are different ways to get tested, and every household in the area will receive a letter this week explaining where and when they can get a test.

Here is what we know so far:

How to get a test if you live or work in CM13

Unless they have had a positive Covid-19 result in the last 90 days or they are currently showing symptoms, everyone aged 16 or over is advised to get a test.

Young people aged between 16-18 will need to have the test done by a parent or guardian, whether they get tested at a mobile testing unit or at home.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms and have not yet taken a test, you should book a test on or via the NHS COVID-19 app.

You can book a test at a mobile testing unit.

You will need to:

• choose the mobile testing site you want to visit

• answer ‘Yes’ when asked ‘Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government project?’

• select ‘Taking part in community testing’.

You can book your test at one of four mobile testing units:

• Shenfield High School car park, Alexander Lane, Shenfield, Brentwood, CM15 8RY

• Thorndon Country Park (south car park), A128 Brentwood Road, West Horndon, Brentwood, CM13 3L

• Adult Community Learning car park, Poplar Drive, Hutton, Brentwood, CM13 1BD. (Please note there is no parking available at this site)

• The Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, CM15 9NN.

All four mobile testing units are open from 9am to 3pm, 7 days per week.

Read more: Surge testing in Brentwood after South African Covid-19 variant found

Pick up a home testing kit

If you would prefer to do your test at home, you can collect a testing kit from the car park of Adult Community Learning, Poplar Drive, Hutton, Brentwood, CM13 1BD.

You do not need to book an appointment to pick up a home test.

When you get home, follow the instructions in the testing kit. You must return the completed test to Adult Community Learning Brentwood as soon as possible.

You can pick up and return a test between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, or 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is no parking available at this site.

Door-to-door testing

If you cannot visit a testing unit or pick up a home testing kit, you may be contacted. A team of volunteers will be knocking on doors in the area to offer home testing kits to those who cannot leave home. The volunteers will be easily identifiable and will never ask for payment or personal details.

After your test

In most cases, you will get your test result by email or text within 48 hours of completing or returning your test. It can take longer in some cases.

If you test positive, you must self-isolate immediately. You must also self-isolate if you develop symptoms or are told you are a contact of a positive case by NHS Test and Trace at any time.

You can apply for financial self-isolation support if you are unable to work.

If you test negative, you must continue to follow Covid-19 guidance around hands, face, space.

Should you be concerned?

As of now, only one case of the variant has been identified in the area.

Cllr John Spence, cabinet member for Health and Social Care, reassured residents that this is a precautionary measure.

He said: “We absolutely do not want people in this area to be concerned about the rolling out of surge testing. This approach is part of a national routine response to the emergence of new variants that cannot be linked to foreign travel or contact with people who have been abroad.

“This is a very much a precautionary measure which has been carried out in other areas of the country. It will provide us with valuable insights about any potential spread of this particular variant and help us to suppress it."

Find more information about the surge testing approach for new Covid-19 variants here.