Everyone living in Thornton Heath over the age of 16 is being urged to take a COVID-19 test as soon as possible as Public Health England has found evidence of a case with the variant first identified in Brazil in the area. 

At this stage there is no evidence of onwards transmission but extra testing is taking place as a further precaution and residents should take the test even if they are not showing symptoms and have had a vaccine.

Croydon Council is working with NHS Test and Trace to carry out extra testing for COVID-19 in South Norwood and Thornton Heath  (see map) with staff going door-to-door, delivering home test kits to some homes.

Staff wearing high-vis vests and carry ingCroydon Council ID have been concentrating efforts on the roads around Grangewood Park which is the border between Thornton Heath and South Norwood. They have visited homes on roads including: Hythe Road, Buller Road, Hamilton Road,  Mersham Road,  and Wharncliffe Road.

Residents have praised the professionalism of staff and say that home testing kits are delivered and collected within 30 minutes

On Friday the government announced the area is one of the locations across the country were the P1 variant first identified in Manaus, Brazil had been found.

 Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that he was “really, really delighted” that the test and trace team had successfully identified the patient who was unknown for several days after he or she failed to register their test properly.

The person was finally identified when they called the NHS 111 number, after officials had spent days contacting potential households. The person lived in a household that had recently returned from Brazil and all of them have apparently quarantined at home.

Scientist say the variant appears to be more contagious and there are concerns vaccines may not be as effective against it.

 Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health said: “We are asking everyone living in South Norwood and Thornton Heath over the age of 16 to take a COVID-19 test as soon as possible, even if you are not showing symptoms. This includes people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

“By getting tested, you can help to prevent the virus spreading, protect yourself and your loved ones, and enable better understanding of this variant. There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant of COVID-19 is more serious than others, or that the vaccine would not protect against it.”

How to get a test

From Tuesday (March 9), you can get a test in the following ways if you live in the area and do not have symptoms:

  • Mobile Testing Units (MTUs)

MTUs will be at the car parks at Granville Gardens, London, SW16 3LL, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor Centre, 194 Selhurst Road, SE25 6XX.

The MTUs will run from 9am to 3pm, seven days a week. You can make an appointment through the council website – you cannot use the national booking system for these tests. Visit https://croydon.zipporah.co.uk/MTU/

  • Home testing kits

You can also pick up and drop off a home testing kit from South Norwood Library, Lawrence Road, SE25 5AA and Thornton Heath Library, 190 Brigstock Road, CR7 7JB.

These are available from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday. You will need to wear a face covering and bring your smart phone if you have one to register your test and proof of address.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should continue to follow shielding guidance and not leave your home to get a test.

If you have coronavirus symptoms you should continue to book a test in the usual way at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or via the NHS COVID-19 app.

If you test positive by any method, or have any symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately.

If you live in South Norwood or Thornton Heath you do not need to do anything else – everyone should continue to follow the national lockdown restrictions and the NHS guidance on social distancing. You can still leave your home for essential reasons – for example to work, if you cannot work from home, to attend medical appointments and to get food and other supplies.

Schools and colleges remain open. There are no instructions for education settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified.

Remember, the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. If you do need to leave your home for essential reasons… keep your distance, wash your hands and cover your nose and mouth.

For more information please visit https://www.croydon.gov.uk/covidtest