Surge Testing

Surge testing for variants of concern in Redbridge from Friday 30 April

Published: 30 April 2021

Residents living in some parts of Redbridge will be offered enhanced COVID-19 testing after two isolated, non-travel related cases of the South African variant of the virus were identified in the borough.   

The weekly number of COVID-19 cases is falling in Redbridge. But it is very important to identify any cases of new variants through the enhanced testing programme – known as surge testing - so that we can stop further transmission.

Up to 13,000 people aged 11+ living or working in the following areas will be encouraged to take a PCR test over the next two weeks from today (Friday 30 April):

  • Areas of the IG1 postcode covering the Cranbrook, Valentines and Ilford Town wards
  • Areas of the IG6 postcode covering the Aldborough, Barkingside, Fairlop and Fullwell wards
  • Small areas within the IG5 and IG7 postcodes (covering the Hainault and Chigwell areas within the Hainault ward)

Everyone who lives within the enhanced testing programme areas will receive a letter in the post from Redbridge Council during the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend. The letter will explain how to get tested and the support available.

Our door-to-door COVID community testing team will be offering PCR home testing in the affected areas for anyone 11+ regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.  The test will be delivered to front doors by a member of our team wearing PPE and carrying a Redbridge Council ID.

People who do not have symptoms can also get tested by visiting one of the test sites below:

  • Ken Aston Square (140 High Street, Barkingside, Ilford IG6 2EA from 9am to 3pm)
  • Mildmay Road Car Park (1 Mildmay Rd, Ilford, IG1 1HW from 8am to 8pm)
  • Gants Hill Library Car Park (Cranbrook Road, Ilford, IG2 6SX from 8am to 8pm).

You do not have to book, but may have to queue. Each test site is open seven days per week.

There is no evidence that this variant is any more serious than the original COVID-19 virus or that the approved vaccines offer less protection. A previous case of the South African variant detected in Loxford in February 2021 saw 5,000 people tested in 10 days, with no further cases of the variant detected. 

Gladys Xavier, Director of Public Health at Redbridge Council, said:  

“I am urging everyone who lives or works in the areas offering enhanced COVID-19 testing to take a test, to help us identify if there are any further existing cases. By taking a test, you’ll be playing your part in helping to keep your community and loved ones safe. It is important to continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face – and, if you are eligible, to get vaccinated when you are invited to by the NHS. Regular testing for Covid-19 also continues to be important.”

Once the tests have been taken the kits will be collected by the engagement team and sent for analysis in a laboratory. The tests, delivery and collection service are all free. 

If you have symptoms, you should wait for the delivery of a home test kit. If you test positive for any variant of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, you must self-isolate.

There is lots of support available from the council and within communities if you need to self-isolate and you may also be able to claim a £500 self-isolation support payment from the government. More information on both is on our website.

If you have symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell) it is essential that, wherever you live, you get tested and self-isolate while awaiting the results. Residents can book a test online or by calling NHS 119.  

The government’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions remain in place: you should not socialise indoors with anyone you do not with live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them, or another exemption applies. You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible.

Anyone who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid test. People who cannot work from home, school children, students, and those who live with anyone attending school or college or working in such a setting should take a rapid test twice a week and take the necessary action if they test positive. This applies even if you take part in surge testing.

Residents living in the areas offering enhanced COVID-19 testing can still vote safely in person, as normal, at the London Assembly elections being held on Thursday May 6. 

For more information on surge testing in Redbridge, visit  



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