'Don't panic' - councillor and MP urge calm ahead of Covid surge testing
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
"There is no need to panic and no cause for alarm."
That is the message to people in Diss and Roydon as an operation aimed at tracking down a variant of Covid-19 gathers pace.
Thus far, the strain first identified in South Africa has only been identified in a handful of positive cases, but surge testing will get under way on Friday.
Three mobile testing units are being set up in the area, two of which will remain open until early March.
While there will undoubtedly be concern in some quarters, Diss county and district councillor, Keith Kiddie, has urged the public to stay calm.
"As I understand it, public health have identified a very small number of cases of the variant," said Mr Kiddie, who also represents Roydon.
"What they are doing with this mass testing is getting a feel of how big the issue is and whether it is actually a problem or not. It's an attempt to grip the thing by the throat and get on top of it.
"Every house in Diss and Roydon will get a letter from public health from tomorrow - certainly by Friday - telling them how they will get tested.
"All the figures we have for south Norfolk suggest things are going in the right direction. As long as people continue what they have been doing - social distancing, hand-washing, mask-wearing - there should not be a problem.
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"The whole system has reacted extremely quickly. There is no need to panic and no cause for alarm."
From Friday, mobile testing facilities will be in place at Diss Community Centre, Diss Leisure Centre and Roydon Community Centre.
Testing kits can also be picked up and dropped off at Midwich Ltd, in Diss, or outside the White Hart pub and St Remigus Church in Roydon.
For those shielding, tests will be dropped off on a door-to-door basis.
Meanwhile, Richard Bacon - MP for South Norfolk - has echoed the message of calm, emphasising that surge testing is "a good thing".
"I don't think there is any reason for panic - on the contrary," he added. "I would be more concerned if we were not surge testing.
"It is a very small number of cases so far but, with the transmission being quite a lot higher, this is the right thing to do."