NEWS DIGEST 02.05.2021: Surge testing in Tower Hamlets, tombs discovered in Egypt, and more.

Good morning and Happy Sunday. Our news for today comes via Facebook.

Everyone aged 11 years and over who lives, works or is educated in the London postcode area E1 is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test when invited. Working in partnership with Tower Hamlets Council, NHS Test and Trace is providing additional testing and genomic sequencing in targeted areas within E1 postcodes from Sunday. It follows the identification of multiple confirmed cases of the variants first identified in South Africa and Brazil. There are no links between these cases and the cluster of cases recently identified in South London. If you are over 11 years of age and you live, work or are educated in an E1 postcode, you’re strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test when invited, even if you’re not showing symptoms. Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify VOC cases and their spread. If you have symptoms, you should book a free test online or by phone so you can be tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to your home. People in this area should also continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing – Surge testing to be deployed in Tower Hamlets (

Egyptian archaeologists working on the Nile Delta have uncovered dozens of rare predynastic tombs dating to the period before Egypt’s Pharaonic kingdoms first emerged more than 5,000 years ago. The findings in the Dakahlia province north of Cairo could shed light on two important transitional periods in ancient Egypt, Egyptologists said. The tombs include 68 from the Buto period that began around 3300 B.C. and five from the Naqada III period, which was just before the emergence of Egypt’s first dynasty around 3100 B.C., according to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Some of the tombs from the Naqada period contained cylindrical and pear-shaped vessels. The Hyksos tombs were mainly semi-rectangular with the corpses lying in an extended position and the head also facing west – Egyptologists uncover rare tombs from before the Pharaohs (Reuters Middle East)

A kitten named June was found late year by a kind citizen in Cape Town, South Africa and was taken to the Domestic Animal Rescue Group. Despite being blind, June doesn’t think she is any different from any of cats. Not only is June full of energy, but she craves love from everyone she meets. After several months with her foster mom Holly, June was ready to be adopted and she was waiting for a forever home and a kind owner who loves her. A couple Andrew Duff and Rebecca Warner saw June’s post and decided to give her a home without even meeting her first. On the way home, June even climbed into Duff’s arms and gave him a nice cuddle. June is now enjoying her happy life with her owners and two cats, Leia and Leeloo – Blind Abandoned Kitten Can’t Stop Hugging Her New Dad After Being Adopted (

As part of their series on Ramadan, the Ilford Recorder, a local newspaper for the town of Ilford in Greater London, spoke with early years practitioner Ruthba Amin on why she looks forward to fasting and hopes for a big community meal post-Covid. The mum-of-two looks forward to fasting for 16 hours every day for a whole month because it reminds her of more important things in life. She said: “Taking away focus from the daily struggles of life, taking the time to become more spiritual, to be more empathetic of others, to put all quarrels aside, to make amends, it is truly a spectacular month.” She calls Ramadan a celebration which brings her closer to her faith and to help others. “It’s a time to reach others less fortunate than us and to give them help and support.”Although these are all things we do throughout the year, sometimes we can get lost in the daily struggles of life and forget about the things that really matter. “Ramadan teaches us self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy.” She said she is blessed to live in a joint family under one household in Ilford so there are a lot of people to share iftar (the fast breaking meal) with – Ramadan 2021: Ilford mum on enjoying daily fast (Ilford Recorder)

As part of Thank You Week organised by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen’s and King George hospital staff were invited to pet horses Verdun and Ulls Water, and wellbeing dog Dexter. Organisers from the trust’s wellbeing team Amelia Darling and Katie Winstanley explained the pet therapy was provided for free by the Metropolitan Police’s East Area Basic Command Unit. Sarah McCann is part of the hospital’s speech and language therapist team, who have spent the past year helping Covid patients with eating, swallowing and communication. She said: “It’s also pulling staff together, who have been working hard but now is a chance to enjoy.” Alexia Young, who runs the nursing workforce hub, added: “It’s light-hearted and taking you out of the four walls we’ve seen a lot of in the past 12 months.” Handing out cups and snacks, east area blue light champion PC Debbie Hines explained the police wanted to “give back” and thank the hospital staff for their hard work. The policewoman added: “Today has gone really well, and we’ve always worked really well together and want them to know we’re here. It’s so important to talk about mental health”Hospitals hold pet therapy days to thank staff after ‘challenging year’ (Ilford Recorder)

Summarised with SMMRY

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