RAPID Covid testing in Bramley will begin tomorrow after a single case of the South African variant was found in the area.

Residents of some 100 postcodes will be have access to a Covid test, with 2,000 properties set to be visited over the course of two days.

Teams consisting of employees from Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and volunteers from the Red Cross and REACT will begin going door-to-door in the village from Wednesday afternoon [February 17].

Anyone over the age of 16 is strongly encouraged to take a test, which will be provided free of charge.

Volunteers will deliver enough testing kits for everyone who lives at each address and return to collect them. Residents should then receive their results from NHS Test and Trace within 2-3 days.

Residents in part of the RG26 5 area are invited to take part.

You can find out whether your postcode is included by searching here.

Hampshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, said: “The important message for the community is that the risk to local people from this single case is very low.

"There is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or that protection is not provided by the vaccines.

"Furthermore, known contacts of the case have been traced and notified. 

“The test is voluntary, but I would urge local residents to take part, as the confidential findings from this local testing programme will feed into national research designed to help beat the virus, so that we can return to normal life as quickly as possible.

“I would like to reassure local people, as well as those who need to visit the area for essential business reasons, that they can carry on ‘as normal’.

"This means following Government guidance to stay at home, essential travel only, and to continue observing the hands-face-space rules.

“My thanks to the local community in advance, for their co-operation.”

Anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days does not need to take the test.

The South African variant is believed to be more transmissible than the 'regular' strain, and there are fears that vaccines are less effective against it.

It has seen a massive campaign launched by public health officials across the country to control cases identified as this variant.

It was first spotted in the UK earlier this month, with mass testing carried out across a number of areas, including Woking in Surrey.