Northamptonshire has five times more Indian variant Covid cases than we thought
Health chiefs warning people to be 'very cautious' as B.1.617.2 strain takes over
Cases of the fast-spreading Indian variant of concern in Northamptonshire are nearly FIVE TIMES more than previously thought.
More than a quarter of the known cases are in East Northants, Corby and Kettering.
Lower-tier authority data published by Public Health England for the first time on Thursday (May 27) showed at least 80 cases of the variant — also tagged VOC-21APR-02 — across Northamptonshire.
Of those, nearly 45 have been in South Northants — where health officials said they were confident an outbreak at Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School a fortnight ago had been contained — and nine in Northampton.
A further 23 are in the former East Northants council area and nine in Northampton.
Corby, Kettering and Daventry are all listed as having had five cases or fewer.
It is not known how many cases are linked directly to international travel or have been contracted by contact within the UK.
Local health officials had previously confirmed 16 cases of variants of concern in the county — not all of which were the B.1.617.2 strain which is hitting some areas of the country hard, including neighbouring Bedford.
Nationally, cases of B.1.617.2 have risen by 3,535 to 6,959 since last week, although not all positive tests are sent for further examination to see if they are any of the five variants of concern listed by PHE.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference last night: "Latest estimates are that more than half and potentially as many as three quarters of all new cases are now of this variant."
Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency chief executive, said last night: "With cases of the variant first identified in India continuing to rise in some areas, we are urging people to be very cautious and follow the guidance on hygiene, face coverings, social distancing and meeting outdoors.
"Please follow the public health advice and make sure that you remain careful, work from home if you can, meet people outside where possible and remember ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times. This is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from this variant."
PHE studies have shown that two doses of Covid-19 vaccine offers high levels of protection against the Indian variant.
The majority of hospital admissions and deaths linked the the B.1.617.2 strain have been among those who have not been jabbed.
There were 19 new positive tests in all of Northamptonshire included in yesterday's daily figures — 11 in Wellingborough plus four in each of the the former Kettering and Corby boroughs.
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