QUESTIONS about how many cases of the South Africa variant of coronavirus were discovered in Worcester have gone unanswered.

On February 5 people living and working in the WR3 area were urged to get tested as soon as possible as a ‘small number of cases’ of the variant were found in the area.

Emergency pop up testing sites sprang up overnight at The White Hart Pub in Fernhill Heath and Sixways Stadium.

Home testing kits were also delivered to residents via Worcestershire County Council so that every single person who needed a test could take it.

According to the council over 6,000 people had a test or used a home testing kit.

However, when we asked the council how residents have tested positive for the South Africa variant they directed us to the Department of Health and Social Care.

When we posed the same question to them, we heard nothing back.

Any positive Covid tests from the 6,000 people tested were to be sent to the reference laboratory for whole genome sequencing to see if the variant was present. This process takes 7-10 days.

The first tests were taken 18 days ago.

The South Africa variant is not thought to be any more dangerous than others circulating in the UK but there are concerns it can spread more readily and vaccines may not work quite as well against it.

Speaking about the testing, Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “The response from our residents has been amazing. Over 6,000 people have been offered a test, either at one of the two test sites or one of the home tests that were delivered. We are really delighted by this response so I want to say a big thank you to residents who have been determined to help us reduce the spread of this virus. The widespread testing in these areas will allow us to identify cases and stop the spread of the virus.”