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Essex church targeted for testing over new variant concern

by Kelly Valencia

Church members of a church in Brentwood, Essex have been asked to come forward for testing over concerns of community spread of a new coronavirus strain.

All of those who attended Trinity Church in Pilgrims Hatch on 21st November have been asked to take a PCR test after Essex County Council confirmed a case of Omicron had been discovered in the area.

In a Facebook post, the church said they have been cooperating with NHS Test & Trace.

“Since the news emerged of a person in Brentwood testing positive for the new variant of Covid, we have been working with NHS Test & Trace within the past 24 hours to support their efforts in regards to this new variant.

“Whilst the person identified did not actually attend Trinity on the 21st of November, someone connected with them did attend and so we have encouraged all members to follow NHS Test & Trace requests and be tested at the identified testing sites.

“Trinity has been fully supportive throughout the pandemic of efforts to protect the community with our onsite procedures and continuing to provide online services for the vulnerable. We will continue to support efforts to combat the spread of this new variant where required.”

A school and a fast-food chain have also been identified as potential places of Omicron Covid spread. Pupils have moved to remote learning and all staff at KFC have been asked to take PCR tests.

Essex council and Larchwood Primary School in Pilgrims Hatch issued a joint statement. It said: "Following further contact tracing of the known Omicron Covid-19 case in Brentwood, it has been confirmed that there is a link to Larchwood Primary School based in Pilgrims Hatch.

"The UK Health and Security Agency, Department of Health and Social Care, Larchwood Primary School and colleagues from Essex County Council and Brentwood Council have worked together to take necessary precautionary action to prevent the spread.

"This includes making specialist testing available for all pupils and school staff and confirming arrangements for remote learning for one class."

Travel bans and compulsory face coverings in public transport and in shops are among the new measures brought in by the UK government to halt the spread of the new strain.  

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