Published: 18:14, 25 May 2021
| Updated: 19:01, 25 May 2021
Testing has been ramped up at a university after a suspected coronavirus outbreak.
The number of confirmed cases at the University of Kent's Canterbury campus have hiked over the past few weeks.
In an email sent to students and seen by KentOnline, a case of the B.1.617.2 infection - also known as the Indian variant - had been "confirmed in someone associated with the University of Kent".
A mobile testing unit has been deployed and authorities are working to make sure enhanced testing is available to anyone affected.
They are also trying to identify any Covid-19 variants, including the Indian strain which has been found in the city's district.
New figures revealed there have been 12 new cases of the Indian variant in Canterbury - 41% of the total detected in Kent in the week up to May 14.
Latest data published on Monday show there are 10 people currently isolating at the city campus following a positive test for Covid-19, including three students living on-campus and seven based elsewhere.
This is an increase from four last week and none according to data on May 10.
A spokesman for the university said: "There has been a small rise in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 at our Canterbury campus.
"As one of these rises was linked to a recent variant of concern, Public Health England (PHE) will shortly be conducting additional testing for a small number of people.
"All those involved are being contacted directly to support them in this.
"The health and welfare of everyone attending our campus remains our key priority."
They said all students have been informed and have been urged to follow the most recent government restrictions and NHS guidance.
"We are also continuing to support those living or working on campus or who are accessing campus facilities by providing on-campus testing or home test kits, with the recommendation they test twice weekly," they added.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with PHE on this."
The suspected outbreak has forced bosses at Kent County Council to move their planned meeting this Thursday at the campus to a different location.
It will be held at the Mote Park leisure centre in Maidstone, but will not be possible to webcast the meeting.
A KCC spokesman said: "Over the past two weeks there has been an increased number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the University of Kent's Canterbury campus.
"Numbers of confirmed cases remain low and the public should be reassured that, as with any suspected outbreak, KCC is working quickly and closely with PHE, the University and other partners to make sure enhanced testing is available to anyone affected, along with sequencing to identify any Covid-19 variants.
"A mobile testing unit has now been deployed to the University so that this testing can take place."
It was revealed today targeted Covid-19 testing is taking place at a Kent school after a case of the so-called Indian strain was detected.
The variant has been found in a positive sample at The King's School in Canterbury, where pupils and staff are undergoing PCR tests to see if the strain has spread further.
Meanwhile, the Scientific Advisory Group for emergencies (Sage) has said there is a “realistic possibility” that the Indian coronavirus variant could be as much as “50% more transmissible” than the Kent strain.
To track the spread of the Indian strain quickly, scientists have been testing positive Covid samples for something known as the S gene, which is not present in the Kent variant but is detected in the Indian strain.
Coronavirus is on the rise in Kent, with 193 cases reported in the seven days up to May 19 - up 32 from the previous week.
Canterbury has seen the biggest jump - with the spread of the Indian variant believed to be a significant factor.
The district reported 59 Covid-19 cases in the week up to May 19 - a 269% increase on the previous week.
Meanwhile, the week up to May 19 saw a weekly rise of 250% in Sevenoaks; while Tonbridge and Malling saw a jump of 233% - although the case numbers remain low.
Elsewhere in the county, cases fell. Folkestone and Hythe saw the biggest drop, as cases fell from 10 to three, while Ashford, Thanet and Swale also saw numbers decrease.
The most recent official data for the Indian strain only goes up to May 14.