Secondary School Kids Will Be Tested For Covid-19 In Seven Worst Hit London Boroughs
All secondary school age children in seven London boroughs are to be immediately tested for coronavirus as London's figures continue to rise.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government would immediatly bring forwards mass testing for 11 to 18-year-olds in the capital. They will also test pupils in parts of Essex that border London, and in Kent.
Hanock told the Downing Street press conference: "Cases are rising and in many areas are already high.
"We need to do everything we can to stop the spread among school age children in London, right now.
"We need to take targeted action immediately. We've decided to put in place an immediate plan to test all secondary school age children in the seven worst affected boroughs in London, parts of Essex bordering London and parts of Kent.
"We are surging mobile testing units and we will be working with schools and local authorities to encourage these children and the families to get tested over the coming days. Details will be set out tomorrow."
The fastest rise in coronavirus cases is among 11 to 18-year-olds in those areas but the level among adults is flat. However, Hancock said a rise among the young can lead to more vulnerable age groups getting the virus.
They are testing all teenagers - including those who are asymptomatic.
Hancock said: "I want to urge all those involved to step forward for the testing. It is important that 11-18 year olds get tested in these boroughs, irrespective of whether they have symptoms. This is a really important point, because we know you can have COVID and pass it on, even if you don't have symptoms."
Hancock did not rule out London moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3 restrictions when the formal review takes place on December 16. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the figures in the south east needed to be monitored closely and if cases are going up before Christmas it's a "concerning picture".
The Evening Standard reporterd that figures show the number of cases in Harrow jumped by 59.8 per cent in the week to December 4, compared with the previous seven days, in Haringey by 54.3 per cent, Waltham Forest 42.4 per cent, Enfield 39 per cent and Sutton 33.8 per cent.
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