The Government is trying to slow the spread of a new variant feared to be extremely infectious (Picture: Google/Stephen Huntley/HVC)
People who went to a KFC outlet or church congregation in an Essex town last week have been told to get tested for the Omicron variant.
Three cases of Omicron, feared to be the ‘worst variant yet’, have now been reported in the UK.
Staff, customers and delivery workers who were at the KFC on Brentwood High Street on November 19 between 1pm and 5pm are being asked to do a PCR test.
Those who attended Trinity Church in Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood on November 21 have also been told they must test.
The news that officials are searching for potential contacts as far back as nine days ago raises questions over how long the new variant has been in the country.
Additional PCR testing capacity will be available in Brentwood from Monday.
The case in Brentwood is linked to a case in Nottingham involving international travel to Southern Africa, where the new variant originated.
Essex County Council said anyone who has tested positive in the past 90 days does not need to take another PCR test, unless they develop new Covid-19 symptoms.
People who have coronavirus symptoms after visiting either of these venues must isolate immediately until they produce a negative result.
Those who visited the KFC on Brentwood High Street between 1pm and 5pm on November 19 must do a PCR test
Anyone who attended Trinity Church in Pilgrims Hatch on November 21 has also been asked to test
A Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) is being deployed to the KFC branch today to drop off test kits to staff.
Others are invited to go to drive-thru appointments at Basildon Cherrydown Car Park or the Brentwood Centre Mobile Testing Unit.
It comes as the Government brings in new restrictions in a desperate effort to contain the new variant.
Face coverings will be obligatory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday.
Meanwhile, anyone arriving in England will have to take a PCR test on day two and self-isolate until they have a negative result.
Scientists suspect Omicron spreads more rapidly than common variants and may have some resistance to vaccines.
However, the doctor who discovered Omicron has suggested the UK may be overreacting.
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