Health bosses in Essex have urged people to get tested after a "highly transmissible" variant of Covid was found in the county. 

Surge testing is being rolled out in an area of Essex after a case of the South Africa coronavirus variant was found.

People living in the postcode area are “strongly encouraged” to take a test when offered, whether or not they have any symptoms of the virus.

Targeted testing will be offered to residents in the CM13 postcode in Brentwood.

Read more: Surge testing launched as a case of Covid South Africa variant found in part of Essex

Health bosses at Essex County Council have urged people to get tested. 

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health, said: “Testing is an integral part of our Covid-19 response in Essex.

"It is vital that anyone over 16 and living or working in CM13 of Brentwood gets tested so we can better understand and suppress any further spread of the South African variant.

“We know this variant is highly transmissible and so it is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of surge testing.

"The quickest way of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.

“Do not be alarmed, but even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe.

"If you receive a letter please book a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.”

John Spence, cabinet member for Health and Social Care, added: “We absolutely do not want people in this area to be concerned about the rolling out of surge testing.

"This approach is part of a national routine response to the emergence of new variants that cannot be linked to foreign travel or contact with people who have been abroad.

“This is a very much a precautionary measure which has been carried out in other areas of the country.

"It will provide us with valuable insights about any potential spread of this particular variant and help us to suppress it.”