THE targeted coronavirus testing effort for residents in an area of Southampton has been completed.

Public health and council chiefs have praised all those who came forward to get tested or used a home test kit as part of the programme for the SO15 5 postcode area.

The mobile testing unit at Atherley Bowling Club in Hill Lane opened on Thursday morning and residents turned out in large numbers to use the facility before it closed at 5.30pm on Saturday, February 20.

This programme was launched after a case of the South Afrian Covid varient was identified by health authorities.

Any positive Covid-19 tests identified through the surge testing regime will be sent for genomic sequencing, which will help Public Health England understand the spread of Covid-19 variants locally.

If anyone has tested positive for Covid-19 they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

Southampton City Council said an update on the number of tests submitted will be provided once the local authority has received confirmation from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Doctor Debbie Chase, director of public health at Southampton City Council, said: “We have had a fantastic response to this testing programme, and I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part.

"By taking the time to get a test you have helped Public Heath England understand more about transmission of the Covid-19 variant first found in South Africa.

"This information will play an important part in how we tackle variant strains of the virus in the future.”

Councillor Christopher Hammond, city council leader, added: “Once again it is clear that the people of Southampton have come together and answered the call to help in the fight against Covid-19.

"I’d like to thank everyone who has taken a home test or has braved the weather and visited the mobile testing unit to help the national effort in understanding more about the spread of variant strains of Covid-19 in our communities.”

Residents have been urged to remember that the national lockdown is still in place and they must stay at home unless they need to leave the house for essential reasons, in line with government guidance.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should book a test at, via the NHS Covid-19 app or call 119.