The national agency has released new figures for the case numbers of the ‘Indian variant’, officially named the ‘VOC-21APR-02’ variant, and lists all local authorities in England that have confirmed cases of the variant, as well as the number of cases for each area.
With Cornwall on the list, the PHE confirms that the Indian variant is indeed present in Cornwall – but states that there has been ”
If a local authority has fewer than five cases, the exact number will not be shared in the data because an exact number could lead to the identification of people who test positive, according to the PHE.
However, by listing Cornwall on the data, PHE confirms that there has been “at least one” but less than five cases recorded in Cornwall.
Likewise, Plymouth and Exeter are listed as having less than five cases, while the Bristol local authority has recorded 28 cases and towns in northern England have seen hundreds of positive cases of the new variant.
The three local authorities with the highest number of cases of the VOC-21APR-02 variant are Blackburn with Darwen (361 cases), Bedford (366 cases) and Bolton (1,354 cases).
There are seven other local authorities which have recorded between 100 and 200 cases, while 81 different authorities have reported between 10 and 100 cases.
At the other end of the scale, there are 160 communities where the variant is present, but with less than 10 cases recorded.
This includes Cornwall, Plymouth and Exeter.
In a statement released alongside the new data, a spokesperson for PHE said: “The latest weekly data on PHE variant cases show that VOC-21APR-02 cases [the Indian variant of Covid-19] increased from 3,535 to 6,959 since last week.
“The most affected areas remain Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen, who have seen 1,354, 366 and 361 confirmed cases respectively.
“There are a small number of cases of VOC-21APR-02 in most parts of the country. PHE has released a full breakdown of VOC-21APR-02 cases by lower-level local authority.
“In some affected areas, hospitalizations are increasing. Attendance and hospital admissions are mostly unvaccinated people, underscoring how crucial it is for people in these areas to show up for vaccinations.
“Across the country, up to May 25, 201 people with confirmed VOC-21APR-02 attended A&E, resulting in 43 admissions. These figures will be updated with new sequencing results every week. “
The statement continues: “Evidence shows that VOC-21APR-02 is likely to be more transmissible than the dominant variant B.1.1.7 ‘Kent’.
“The cases of VOC-21APR-02 continued to grow faster than B.1.1.7, but an increase in the total number of cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections was observed only in a small number of zones.
“PHE experts are monitoring the situation closely to determine just how more transmissible VOC-21APR-02 may be.
“It is essential that everyone, especially in the areas most affected, take special care to remain responsible and vigilant.
“A PHE study has shown that two doses of the vaccine provide high levels of protection against symptomatic disease of VOC-21APR-02.
“We expect the vaccines to be effective in preventing hospitalization and death, so getting both doses is vital to achieve maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants. “
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