SURGE TESTING: Efforts have been ramped up to contain the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus
More areas in the UK will see designated surge testing as efforts to contain the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been ramped up.
Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Kirklees, North Tyneside, Hounslow and Glasgow will be added to the list as areas of concern. Bolton and Blackburn have already seen special measures put in place.
As of Thursday morning, nearly 3,000 cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been identified in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said a new surveillance system designed to monitor the virus' spread was able to identify cases early in Blackburn and Bolton.
At the press briefing on Wednesday evening, the Health Secretary said “there are now 2,967 cases known of this variant in the UK and we are determined to do all that we can to ensure this new variant doesn’t put our recovery at risk.”
Whilst discussing the current situation in Bolton, he said “there are now 25 people in Bolton Hospital with Covid – the majority are unvaccinated, nearly 90% have not yet had two vaccines.
“This shows the importance of getting vaccinated, not once but twice."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated his confidence that the vaccine is effective against this, and other, variants. Scientists are hoping have enough information to identify the true risks of the Indian variant by next week.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said “I think scientists are sure that this virus is more transmissible than the strain that it is beginning to replace, which is the old Kent B.117 strain.
“The million dollar question is how much more transmissible – we don’t have that yet.
“We have a credible range that goes from a few percent more transmissible through to 50% more transmissible. I think most people feel it is going to be somewhere in the middle, but it is just too early.”
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