Indian variant of coronavirus detected in Brighton and Hove Brighton News

It is believed that there is a “realistic possibility” that the Indian variant is 50% more transmissible than the British variant of Kent, responsible for the deadly winter wave.

To combat the spread of the new variant, positive samples of Covid were tested for an ‘S gene’, which is only present in the Indian strain.

Two cases have tested positive for the gene in Brighton and Hove amid a slight increase in the infection rate in the city.

Two other Sussex authorities have found cases that have tested positive for the ‘S gene’.

These are Mid Sussex, who has seen two cases, and Crawley, who has seen one.

The ministers say 86 local authorities have now reported five or more confirmed cases of the new variant.

The Argus: Public Health EnglandPublic health England

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Monday that while the B1617.2 variant appeared to be more transmissible, evidence suggested vaccines were effective against it.

Mr Hancock said the variant has become the dominant strain in parts of the North West of England.

A range of measures are being taken to curb its spread, including speeding up second doses of vaccines for people over 50 and clinically vulnerable people, he added.

How many cases have been detected in the UK?

Mr Hancock told the Commons there are now 2,323 confirmed cases of B1617.2 in the UK – including 483 in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where it is now the dominant strain.

He said cases had doubled last week and were increasing across all age groups.

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Mr Hancock also told MPs there were 86 local authorities where there were five or more confirmed cases, with Bedford being the ‘second cause for concern’.

His statement comes after data from Public Health England (PHE) released Thursday showed a sharp increase in cases associated with B1617.2, which has been designated as a “variant of concern,” from 520 last week to 1,313.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said the variant could be a “serious disruption to our progress” upon exiting the lockdown.

Is this surge leading to more hospitalizations and deaths?

Mr Hancock said that in Blackburn hospital admissions were ‘stable’, with eight people currently hospitalized with Covid.

In Bolton, 19 people were hospitalized with coronavirus – the majority of whom were eligible for a vaccine but had not received one, he added.

Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health Professor Dominic Harrison said the increase in cases is not expected to lead to an increase in deaths and hospital admissions, but that the situation will be monitored daily.

Is the Indian variant more transmissible?

Informing MPs of the latest scientific assessment on the Indian variant, the health secretary said early evidence suggested the variant was more transmissible than the Kent variant.

He added that it was not yet known how more transmissible it was.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said there is a “realistic possibility” that the Indian variant of the coronavirus is up to “50% more transmissible” than the Kent strain.

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But, at this time, there is no evidence that the B1617.2 variant is resistant to current vaccines.

Mr Hancock said early laboratory data from the University of Oxford corroborated evidence from Bolton Hospital and initial observational data from India that vaccines are effective against this variant.

He added that while this is “reassuring”, the higher transmission rate “poses a real risk”.

What do we do?

Mr Hancock said the government had “stepped up” its rapid response team in Bolton and Blackburn, with a team of 100 visiting around 35,000 people to distribute and collect tests.

He also said that six new test units had been installed, 50 new vaccinators introduced and two new vaccination centers opened, as well as the extension of the opening hours and capacity of existing sites.

Over the weekend, the vaccination rate in Bolton quadrupled, with 6,200 people receiving the vaccine.

Mr Hancock also confirmed that surge tests would take place in Bedford after an increase in cases of Indian variants of the coronavirus.

The Argus:

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference last week that second doses – which provide people with maximum protection against Covid-19 – would also be postponed from the planned 12-week interval to eight weeks.

The first doses are also priority for any eligible person who has not yet come forward, including those over 40.

Professor Whitty said local ‘surge vaccinations’, which would make early doses more widely available by offering them to everyone over 18, were not being continued because there is a ‘limited’ supply of doses. and that the younger ones ran less risk. virus.

Mr Hancock said those accepting their offer of a vaccine “will help us all get out of this pandemic” and announced that those aged 37 will be offered the vaccine starting Tuesday.

He added: “The approach is to make sure that we do as many second vaccinations as possible, as many first vaccinations among vulnerable groups, and then as many vaccinations as possible for eligible groups under the age of 50.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-18 13:23:29