900 residents from the WR3 area of Worcester have now been tested for the new South African variant of coronavirus that was traced to the area.

Worcestershire County Council organised mass pop-up testing sites at Worcester Sixways and The White Hart pub on Droitwich Road amid concerns that the new South African variant may be more contagious and uncertainities over whether current vaccines will be effective against it.

The testing originally began in Fernhill Heath on Saturday January 6 but there were some teething problems with the system, all slots were quickly filled and appointments were cancelled.

Worcestershire County Councillor Tony Miller who lives in Fernhill Heath said: "The first day the site opened, there were problems. It was swamped, we had lots of people turning up without appointments, but the team handled it very well. By Sunday it was much better, it all happened so quickly there were bound to be some problems. Now, people are contacting me telling me how thankful they are that this is in place.

"I am booked in for my test this Friday. I estimate there are around 6000 people who need to be tested in this area, I hope everyone over the age of 18 will book in and have a test either in Fernhill Heath or at Sixways. We all just want to get back to something resembling normality as soon as possible."

Home testing kits for South African variant of Covid-19 are being delivered from Thursday. Every household in the identified areas will be visited from Thursday and a test kit offered to everyone over the age of 18.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire said: “It is important we test as many people as we can in these postcode areas, to ensure we are identifying people who are carrying Covid-19 without realising.

"This testing will also help us nationally identify the spread of the South African variant. If you are offered a test at home and have not visited the two testing sites since Saturday, then please do take up the offer.”