Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
4:34 PM 4th June 2021

Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 Variants Identified In UK - 4 June 2021

Latest updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in UK.

Public Health England (PHE) releases weekly updates on the number of confirmed new cases of variants of concern and variants under investigation identified in the UK.

Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant now dominant in the UK

PHE’s weekly coronavirus (COVID-19) variant cases data shows that cases of the Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant in the UK have risen by 5,472 since last week to 12,431.

Although there is some regional variation, PHE experts now believe that Delta (VOC-21APR-02) has overtaken Alpha (VOC-20DEC-01) as the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in the UK.

Early evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of hospitalisation for Delta (VOC-21APR-02) compared to Alpha (VOC-20DEC-02) although more data is needed for us to have more confidence in that finding. This week, 278 people with the Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant attended A&E, resulting in 94 people being admitted to hospital overnight. Last week, 201 people attended A&E, with 43 admissions. Once again, the majority of these had not been vaccinated.

The most affected areas remain Bolton, where cases have risen by 795 to 2149, and Blackburn with Darwen which has seen 368 new cases, bringing it to 724 in total. There are encouraging signs that the transmission rate in Bolton has begun to fall and that the actions taken by residents and local authority teams have been successful in reducing spread.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency, said:

"With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we all continue to exercise as much caution as possible. The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of COVID-19 as a whole. Work from home where you can, and practice ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.

"If you are eligible and have not already done so, please come forward to be vaccinated and make sure you get your second jab. It will save lives."

In Bolton, local teams have gone door to door in targeted areas on consecutive weekends to distribute test kits, share vital safety messages and encourage people to get the vaccine at a local drop-in centre. Take up of both testing and the vaccine has been positive.

Blackburn with Darwen has also seen local teams making door-to-door visits, and over 10,000 additional PCR tests have been given out. Mobile testing units have been deployed to the area and wastewater sampling continues, in order to track the spread of the variant.

PHE has also published a breakdown of outbreaks and clusters of variants in schools and other settings.

Outbreaks and clusters in primary and secondary schools are at low levels but we have seen a slight increase over recent weeks, in line with higher levels of the Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant circulating in the community.

The latest PHE data suggest that there have been 97 confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in primary and secondary schools that have had at least one variant case linked to them over the most recent 4-week period. This represents around 1 in 250 schools.

PHE’s health protection teams continue to work with local authorities and schools to carry out surveillance of COVID-19 cases in schools to understand and reduce transmission in these settings.

PHE experts continue to urge everybody to remain cautious as the country approaches the next stage of the roadmap. Variant cases are on the increase in several areas and it is absolutely crucial that everyone plays their part in preventing their spread.