SURGE testing is being rolled out in Leeds after the South African variant of Covid-19 was found in the city.

The additional testing will be rolled out in parts of the city to detect and control the spread of the variant, which is of concern to scientists and ministers as it is feared the Covid vaccines are less effective against it.

The Department of Health is carrying out surge testing and genomic sequencing in the LS8, which covers the built up Harehills and Oakwood areas as well as the affluent area of Roundhay.

The South African variant has been found in parts of Harehills and also areas north of the A58 Easterly Road.

The department said: “Extra testing is being introduced in addition to existing extensive testing and, in combination with following the current lockdown rules and remembering Hands Face Space advice, will help to monitor and suppress the spread of the virus.

"Positive cases will be sequenced for genomic data to help understand Covid-19 variants and their spread within these areas.

“People living within this targeted area are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test when offered, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

“People with symptoms should book a test in the usual way and those without symptoms should visit their local authority website for more information.”

This is the nearest the South African variant has been found to Bradford so far.