Covid-19: UK identifies over 2,300 cases of Indian variant, now in 86 council areas
London, May 18, 2021 (AltAfrica)-There are now 86 local authorities with five or more confirmed cases of the Indian Covid variant, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
A total of 2,323 cases of the Indian coronavirus variant have now been reported in the UK
Delivering a COVID-19 statement in the Commons, the health secretary said 483 cases have been confirmed in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where the variant is now the dominant strain. This means there has been a 77% increase in confirmed cases of the variant over the last five days.
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“This isn’t just about Bolton and Blackburn,” he said, referring to the areas seeing a spike in cases.
In Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, cases of the variant have doubled in the last week and are rising in all age groups.
He said 19 people in Bolton and eight people in Blackburn were in hospital, “the majority of whom are eligible for a vaccine but haven’t yet had a vaccine”.
Scientists believe the Indian variant does spread more easily, but early data suggests vaccines still work. The exact impact on vaccine efficacy – if any – is yet to be confirmed.
It comes as millions of people can now enjoy new freedoms as lockdown is eased in England, Wales and most of Scotland.
But the government has warned its next review of social distancing rules may be delayed.
No 10 said the Indian variant “could pose a threat” to the process of deciding whether all remaining lockdown restrictions could be eased on 21 June.
Mr Hancock said this was “frustrating to see” and “reinforces the message that people should come forward and get vaccinated because that is the best way to protect everybody”.
And the health secretary said this “shows the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older, vaccinated groups and it underlines again the importance of getting the jab especially – but not only – amongst the vulnerable age groups”.