Published: Tuesday, 30th Mar 2021

As part of Public Health England’s proactive sequencing work, PHE has identified a case in the area of Wingates Industrial Estate of someone who has tested positive for the South Africa Variant.

Every person working on the estate, over the age of 16, is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test, even if they are not showing symptoms or have had the vaccine recently. 

If a person tests positive, has any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate immediately.

This testing initiative is aimed at finding cases of Covid-19 in areas where cases of South Africa Variant have been identified, to help gain a better understanding of variants.   

There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it. People should continue to follow the lockdown rules and remember ‘hands, face, space’.

The largest businesses will be given testing kits to distribute to their employees.

Workers at other businesses will need to need to book a test at the mobile testing site. 

They will be able to book a test at or via the NHS COVID-19 app and choose Wingates Mobile Testing Unit (MTU). Employees will need to state they have been asked to take a test when they go to book.

The mobile testing unit will be based at AirVault Inflatable & Trampoline Park, Wingates Industrial Estate, 1002 Great Bank Rd, Westhoughton, Bolton, BL5 3XU.

It will be open from Tuesday 30 March from 8am-4pm, seven days a week, until 12 April.

Dr Matthieu Pegorie, Consultant in Health Protection, (Greater Manchester) Public Health England North West said:

“PHE North West is supporting Bolton Council following the identification of the South Africa variant of COVID-19. When no link is found to international travel, as in this case, it suggests that there are some cases in the community, which is why enhanced testing is taking place at Wingates.

“I urge everyone offered a test to take it up to help us to monitor the virus in the community and to help suppress and control the spread of this variant. “We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and all necessary public health interventions are being undertaken, including enhanced contact tracing and control measures. “The UK has one of the best genomic systems in the world which has allowed us to detect the South Africa Variant in Bolton.

“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.”

Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey added:

“We want to reassure the public that the risk of any onward spread is low and that actions which are being planned jointly with Public Health England are precautionary. There is no evidence that it causes more severe illness.

“If you cannot work from home it’s important that you get tested at one of our testing centres for those without symptoms. One in three people have the virus but don’t develop symptoms, and can be spreading it to others.

“It’s also important that anyone with symptoms does get tested and stays at home for the full 10 days. Covid-19 has not gone away and we need you to continue to follow the rules and to remember hands, face, space.

”Please do have the vaccine when you are invited to make an appointment.”