Matt Hancock has announced that cases of the Indian variant have nearly doubled in the last four days.
Indian variant of COVID – should we be worried?. Confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 variant now stand at 2,323. This has jumped from the 1,010 cases that Public Health England announced on Thursday. Of the cases, nearly a quarter have been seen in Bolton and Blackburn where the Indian variant is now dominant.
The Health Secretary spoke in the House of Commons to say that hospitalisations in both cities were “stable”. But stated that people who had fallen ill were eligible for a vaccination but for whatever reason hadn’t had one.
In doing so he stressed the importance of people taking up the opportunity to get immunised saying. “This shows the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older, vaccinated groups and it underlines again the importance of getting the jab. Especially, but not only, amongst the vulnerable age groups.”
He went on to say. “To anyone who feels hesitant. Just look at what is happening in Bolton Hospital. Where the majority of people in hospital with coronavirus were eligible for the jab but have chosen not yet to have the jab. And have ended up in hospital – some of them in intensive care. Vaccines save lives, they protect you, they protect your loved ones, And they will help us all get out of this pandemic.”
Speaking to MP’s regarding the scientific assessment of the variant he said. “The early evidence suggests that B.1.617.2 is more transmissible than the previously dominant Kent variant. We do not yet know to what extent it is more transmissible.
While we also don’t have the complete picture on the impact of the vaccine, the early laboratory data from Oxford University corroborates the evidence from Bolton Hospital. And the initial observational data from India that vaccines are effective against this variant.” He also warned that the higher transmission rate does pose a “real risk”.
While the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues unaltered for now. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said on Monday that. “Changes to social distancing rules could be delayed in the future.”