Customers at Tyneside bar urged to take covid test after case of Indian variant
Customers of a popular Tyneside bar have been asked to take a Covid-19 test after a case of the Indian variant was linked to the premises.
Anyone who visited Allard's Lounge in Tynemouth between April 23 and May 3 has been urged to book a PCR test.
Public Health England and North Tyneside Council said "one of the cases in an outbreak linked to the premises has been identified as having the Indian variant".
North Tyneside director of public health Wendy Burke reassured people that coronavirus levels remained the lowest they have been since September.
She said: "We want to ensure we keep it that way and especially as we move to the next stage of the road map, with restrictions set to ease again on 17 May and allow for indoor mixing.
"This additional testing is really important to help to control the virus, reduce transmission and help North Tyneside return to normal.
"We continue to work very with Public Health England to monitor outbreaks, especially as variant cases begin to circulate across the country."
The council has also been working closely with Allard's Lounge managers who are ensuring that the bar is Covid-secure and are looking forward to reopening fully.
PCR tests are taken at a test site or at home, with results processed by a lab.
There are two local test sites in North Tyneside - at The Parks Sports Centre, North Shields, and Coronation Street car park, Wallsend.
The call came shortly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of the “lethal danger” posed by coronavirus variants which could lead to a new wave of disease worse than that endured by the UK in January.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for caution and vigilance as lockdown eased, highlighting particular concern about the Indian variant which experts believe could be even more transmissible than the Kent strain which swept across the UK.
Even without the prospect of a deadly new variant which could escape the vaccines currently being used, Mr Johnson said there was a “high likelihood” of a seasonal surge in coronavirus cases in the winter.
Mr Johnson warned that “new variants pose a potentially lethal danger, including the one first identified in India which is of increasing concern here in the UK”.
The European Medicines Agency also said it was “monitoring very closely the data on the Indian variant” but there was “promising evidence” that mRNA vaccines – the types those produced by Pfizer and Moderna – would be able to neutralise it.
Concerns around the Indian variant are focused on the ease with which it spreads, rather than it being able to evade vaccines.
In the Commons, Mr Johnson – who has set out plans to ease England’s restrictions on May 17 – said “the end of the lockdown is not the end of the pandemic”.
“The World Health Organisation has said that the pandemic has now reached its global peak and will last throughout this year,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our own scientific advisers judge that although more positive data is coming in and the outlook is improving, there could still be another resurgence in hospitalisations and deaths.
“We also face the persistent threat of new variants and should these prove highly transmissible and elude the protection of our vaccines, they would have the potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January.”