‘Very small number’ of Covid variants picked up in Wiltshire

“A very small number” of coronavirus variants have been detected in Wiltshire, the council’s public health boss has revealed, but they are not of concern to the wider community.

These variants, classed as variants under investigation, are not as worrisome as variants of concern but are still being carefully monitored.

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire Council’s director for public health, said: “We’ve had a very small number of variants under investigation. They have all been managed, the steps that were required of the individual in terms of isolation were all done so there was no onward risk into the community.”

Mrs Blackburn said that nationally, the main variant of concern is the South African variant. 

The Indian variant, linked to international travel, is being treated as a variant under investigation.

Asked whether any Indian variants had been identified in Wiltshire, Mrs Blackburn said: “We’ve had a couple of variants under investigation cases but nothing of concern for the wider community at all.

“We know where the source was and we know that there has been no onward transmission – hence no requirement for surge testing.”

Variants under investigation, unlike variants of concern, may have a higher transmissibility rate, Mrs Blackburn explained, but there isn’t enough evidence to confirm that or to suggest they might be resistant to a Covid vaccine.

“We just want to make sure we’re keeping an eye on them and getting as much information as possible,” she said.

Despite last month’s partial easing of restrictions, Covid-19 cases across the county have remained low, something Mrs Blackburn said was “pleased” about. 

Those aged 10-14 remain the most affected age group as school-age children continue to be tested twice a week.

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