Updated 4 June 2021 at 4:40pm
To help prevent spread of the coronavirus, Public Health England (PHE) is monitoring cases, particularly new variants. This is helping them to gain a better understanding of how different variants spread, and any impact they may have on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. The more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at suppressing it.
PHE has identified a very small number of cases of the variant VOC 21-APR-02 (first detected in India) in people associated with:
- Binfield CE Primary School
- The Brakenhale School
- Garth Hill College
- Great Hollands Primary School
- Sandhurst School
- Whitegrove Primary School
All schools have taken immediate action and have been working with PHE to notify all relevant contacts.
As a result, PHE has advised additional testing at the schools. At this point, the risk of further cases is low and they are offering this testing as a precaution to find out if this variant has spread more widely amongst students as well as household contacts of the individual.
PHE has advised the schools to recommend additional testing for some students/student year groups based on its risk assessment. Parents of the children requiring additional testing have been informed by the relevant school.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that this variant causes more serious illness than other variants. However, this variant is at least as transmissible as the variant first identified in Kent, possibly more so. Tracking and controlling the spread of this variant is therefore important from a public heath point of view and PHE are monitoring all cases within the borough.
Everyone over the age of 12 are urged to do twice weekly asymptomatic lateral flow testing to help identify those who may have the virus without symptoms, even if they have had the vaccine. Anyone who receives a positive lateral flow test should self-isolate with their household and book a confirmatory PCR test on GOV.UK or by calling 119.