Laura Sharman 29 November 2021

Councils undertake targeted testing to help stem spread of Omicron variant

Councils undertake targeted testing to help stem spread of Omicron variant image

Targeted testing and contact tracing is taking place after two cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant were identified in the UK for the first time.

The first two cases - which are linked and connected to travel to Southern Africa - were found in Chelmsford and Nottingham.

Working with the local authorities, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is carrying out targeted testing at locations where the positive cases were likely to have been infectious.

Essex County Council said contact tracing has found there is a link to Larchwood Primary School so specialist testing and remote learning for one class was being provided. A branch of KFC in Brentwood High Street and Trinity Church in Pilgrim’s Hatch will also be the focus of targeted testing activity.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s director of public health, said: 'Thanks to the excellent work of our contact tracers we have been able to identify two settings which are the focus of our attention for testing.

'The aim is to understand what, if any, spread of the new variant within the local community may have occurred and limit the opportunity for any further spread. Robust contact tracing has taken place following identification of the single case.'

Six cases of the variant have also been identified in Scotland.

The Government also announced other 'temporary and precautionary measures' to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant, with face coverings being compulsory in shops and on public transport from tomorrow.

The Prime Minister said: 'As always, and I must stress this, as always with a new variant, there are many things that we just cannot know at this early stage. But our scientists are learning more hour by hour, and it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly, and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated.

'There is also a very extensive mutation which means it diverges quite significantly from previous configurations of the virus, and as result, it might - at least in part - reduce the protection of our vaccines over time.

'So we need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs


Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - £18,657 per annum.
Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s flagship leisure facility, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Group Head of Law & Governance (Monitoring Officer)

Arun District Council
£71, 468 - £74,355
We have high ambitions for our area and are looking for a Group Head of Law & Governance (Monitoring Officer) to... Littlehampton, West Sussex
Recuriter: Arun District Council

Senior Engineer- Highways

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£23,080- £30,451
Our Highways Service is growing to reflect the increase in investment. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Executive Chief Officer - Communities & Place

Highland Council
As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, you will lead corporate and cross service strategies that improve... Inverness, Highland
Recuriter: Highland Council

Democratic Services Business Manager

Up to £60,000 per annum & pay award pending
Do you have experience managing Democratic Services? Are you ambitious and up for a new challenge? Cirencester/Witney/Coleford (remote working available)
Recuriter: Publica

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue