More than 70,000 PCR tests were completed in Lambeth during surge testing for the Covid-19 variant first found in South Africa, with 0.2 per cent turning out positive. 

Surge testing was launched on April 12 after 44 confirmed and 30 probable cases were found in Lambeth and Wandsworth - it expanded to Southwark and Barnet in the following days. 

Ruth Hutt, Lambeth’s director of public health, said: “We thank everyone who took part in this enhanced testing, and the preliminary findings indicate no spread of the variant locally. 

“We know many people have gone out of their way to get tested, often waiting patiently in line to have a PCR swab. It is hugely appreciated.

“Our communities have demonstrated a real unity and commitment here for which we are hugely grateful. 

“We will share the full results from this surge in testing when we have received sequencing results for all positive samples which can be successfully analysed.” 

Lambeth Council, which worked with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace on the targeted testing, said it was grateful for the “incredible response” from the “large numbers of residents, businesses, schools and faith groups who took part”. 

The local authority urged everyone to get regular rapid symptom-free tests.  

Residents who test positive for the virus and need to self-isolate in Lambeth can apply for financial aid from the council of up to £500. 

Despite the main surge testing operation ending, people can still return testing kits and have onsite PCR testing in some capacity “but on a smaller scale through the week to ensure no one misses out”, the council said.  

From April 28, residents will be able to drop off PCR test kits for analysis past today at Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, Streatham Library, Streatham, St John’s Church, Waterloo, and Brockwell Park, near Brockwell Hall.