Health chiefs are confident vaccinations can keep Covid hospitalisations in check amid warnings of a new Omicron sub-variant which is almost as infectious as measles.
The number of new coronavirus cases doubled in 17 out of Northamptonshire's 91 neighbourhoods in the week to March 10. Just five areas saw a fall in the number of positive tests recorded.
Northampton has been identified as one of the UK areas with the highest proportion of cases of the new variant, dubbed Deltacron, which combines mutations from both Omicron and Delta.
Professor Adrian Esterman, a former World Health Organisation epidemiologist, warned this week that although the new sub-variant is no more severe than Omicron, it is more transmissible.
He added: “This makes it pretty close to measles, the most contagious disease we know about. That means we’re going to see case numbers skyrocketing.”
But health secretary Sajid Javid insisted: “We successfully navigated our way through Omicron thanks to the response of the British people.
“There are so-called subvariants of Omicron. We keep it under review but we have no concerns at all.”
■ Check out the government's interactive map HERE to see the current situation in your area.