Nearly 7,500 tested as work to find South African variant ends

A mass COVID testing centre at Diss Leisure Centre. Picture: Danielle Booden

A mass COVID testing centre at Diss Leisure Centre. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Almost 7,500 Covid-19 tests have been carried out in Diss and Roydon, as surge testing to identify the South African variant has come to an end.

The surge testing, which began on February 19 and concluded on March 3, saw 7,479 tests carried out, which preliminary results show returned 51 positive results.  

Genomic sequencing work is now underway to discover if any of the additional positives discovered by the surge testing are related to the new variant.  

Testing, which targeted those who live and work in Diss and Roydon aged 16 years or older, was carried out by NHS Test and Trace in three ways:  

  • 3,613 tests were carried out by Diss and Roydon residents via home test kits  

  • 3,276 tests were carried out at Mobile Testing Units deployed by the Department for Health and Social Care to the Diss and Roydon area as part of the surge testing  

  • 590 Diss and Roydon residents were tested during this period via other test centres 

Norfolk Public Health estimate that 64.8pc of eligible Diss and Roydon residents came forward to be tested over the fortnight of surge testing.  

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who got tested and have helped us understand exactly what the Covid situation is in the community.  

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“We’re now waiting for the complicated genomic work to be carried out. The information this testing provides us could help save lives.”  

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s Director for Public Health, said: "We’ve seen a great response to the testing in Diss and Roydon.

“As a result, we’ve identified 51 cases of Covid 19 in the area. This is to be expected – positive asymptomatic cases would likely have been found anywhere that this extent of testing was carried out.   

“That’s why it is so important that we all continue to follow the lockdown restrictions and keep washing our hands, wearing face coverings and keeping our distance from others.”  

The surge testing was carried out after a very small number of cases of the Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa were detected in the area.  

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk District Council, said: “The way our residents answered the call to get themselves tested not only helped protect their friends and families, it has also helped our local businesses to be able to step out into the warm spring sunshine.”  

Anyone with Covid symptoms should self-isolate and book a test online at 

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