Surge testing in Wiltshire is ready to be rolled out if needed, the county's public health boss has said.

Following the discovery of more transmissible Covid variants, extensive testing is being carried out in areas where mutations of the virus have been identified.

This includes door-to-door testing, also for those who are asymptomatic, and enhanced contact tracing to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

In the Wiltshire Council area no new strains of coronavirus, such as the South African variant, have been picked up so far.

However, plans are in place should the situation change in the future.

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire Council's director for public health, said: "As yet there has been no evidence of variants of concern being found in Wiltshire so we have no need for any local surge testing at this time.

"We have, however, worked hard within the local authority so that should this happen we have our plans in place and ready to go."

Last week surge testing was carried out in Bramley, near Basingstoke, the first place in Hampshire where the South African variant was detected.

Additional testing also took place in Southampton due to a single case being found in the SO15 5 postcode.

Although no new strains have been identified in Wiltshire, Mrs Blackburn had previously stressed that it is still "vital" that people keep sticking to the rules.

Earlier this month, she said: "Regardless of what the variant is, the key message remains the same as to how you can protect yourself from this virus [and] how you can protect your loved ones so people should stay at home as much as possible only leaving if it's necessary such as to pick up vital supplies."

Rapid testing for people who cannot work from home, have no Covid symptoms and work for businesses with fewer than 50 employees is currently underway in Salisbury.

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