Five Indian variant cases reported in Wiltshire, figures show

Five Covid cases linked to the Indian variant have been detected in Wiltshire, official figures show.

The B.1.617.2 mutation, which spreads more rapidly than the Kent strain, has been cause of concern in recent weeks, following the steep rise in cases linked to it.

London and the North West have been the areas most affected, with surge testing deployed to halt the spread of the new variant.

In Wiltshire, only a handful of infections have been picked up and cases remain “very low”.

More Indian variant news:

The latest figures

According to data from Public Health England (PHE), five cases involving the Indian variant were identified in the county between May 8 and May 14.

The health body had previously reported that four cases were detected in the area between May 2 and May 8, but warned that it has counted any tests conducted on May 8 twice.

‘Numbers remain low’

Wiltshire Council confirmed the presence of the Indian variant two weeks ago but stressed numbers were “very, very low”.

These cases were linked to individuals who had recently been abroad, the council revealed.

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire’s director for public health, said the new strain was “fully contained” as all cases had been identified and were self-isolating.

Asked whether there had been any increase in the past week, a spokesperson from council said cases remained “very low”.

The bigger picture

The data shows 6,729 S-gene positive cases were recorded in England between the start of March and May 11 – up from 4,363 by May 5.

Of these, 90 (1 per cent) were in the South West – the second smallest proportion of England’s nine regions, and well behind the North West, where there are almost 3,000.

PHE analysis suggests that of a national sample of 1,192 positive S-gene specimens, 93 per cent were found to be the B.1.617.2 Indian mutation.

Does the vaccine work?

A separate PHE study found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were 33.5 per cent effective after the first dose.

However, effectiveness rises considerably (80.9 per cent) after the second jab.

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