Indian COVID variant spreads fast in England
Transmission is rising in Bolton, Blackburn and Sefton, all in north-western England, and in London and Glasgow, leading to concerns the country’s roadmaps out of Covid-19 restrictions could be derailed.
Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, told i the authority is working closely with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to arrange a “programme of additional PCR testing and enhanced contact tracing for the area”.
Kate Hollern, the Labour MP for Blackburn, called the rising number of cases across parts of the North West “incredibly worrying”.
“Blackburn’s Public Health Team have deployed contact tracers to households that have tested positive for Covid,” she said. However, Ms Hollern went on to say contact tracing efforts are being undermined because positive test results are not being received quick enough.
Meanwhile, the Labour MP for Sefton Central criticised the Government, claiming it had failed to put in place a robust quarantine system. Bill Esterson said: “Sefton Council is working closely with Public Health England to contain this outbreak, which is likely to be linked to travel from India to other parts of North West England.”
In London, cases of the variant first detected in India have been detected across the city, according to officials. Professor Kevin Fenton, the London regional director for Public Health England, said work is underway to curb variant cases through “increased targeted testing, enhanced contact tracing and genomic sequencing of all positive tests with a high enough viral load”.
The B1617.2 variant is believed to be responsible for some of the coronavirus infections in the south side of Glasgow. ■