Localised testing for the South African coronavirus variant is taking place in a community on the border of Bromley.

Extra testing is being offered in New Addington and Fieldway, where everyone over the age of 16 is being encouraged to participate whether they have symptoms or not.

Public Health England discovered a case of the variant in someone who has neither been to South Africa, nor knowingly encountered anyone with connections there, suggesting it may be in the local environment.

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Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director at PHE, said: “The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the variant originating in South Africa here in New Addington and Fieldway.

"I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in our communities and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant.

“The most important thing is that people 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.

"If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus."

There is no evidence that the South Africa variant causes more serious illness for the vast majority of people who become infected.

As with the original version, the risk is highest for people who are elderly or have significant underlying health conditions.

But there are concerns it can spread more readily and vaccines may not work quite as well against it.

From Tuesday 23 February, Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) will be located in car parks at Timebridge Centre, Fieldway, CR0 9AZ and Queen Elizabeth Drive, New Addington, CR0 0H

Croydon Council will also be going door-to-door, delivering home test kits to some addresses in the area.