THE Indian Covid variant has been found in 40 per cent of local authorities in England.
It comes as the B.1.617.2 variant is now dominant in 23 areas, data from the Sanger Institute revealed.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday the variant is now the dominant virus in hotspots such as Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton.
Surge testing and extended opening hours at jab centres have been enforced in these areas to the help prevent the spread.
But Sanger Institute data from May 8 shows that measures such as these could be needed in many more areas of the country.
Across the UK there have been 2,323 cases of the variant, four times the 520 recorded ten days prior.
Mr Hancock also mentioned both Sefton and Bedford as areas of concern, and figures show the variant accounts for eight in 10 cases of hospital admissions.
This is also the case in Bolton, Blackburn, Chelmsford and Croydon.
The variant is also dominant in several areas in London – accounting for more than half of all positive test results in Hillingdon, Brent, Camden, Hounslow and Greenwich.
Others parts of the country that are mainly testing positive for the strain include Nottingham, West Lancashire, Oadby and Wigston in Leicester, Stevenage, South Northamptonshire, Broxbourne, Bromley, Dartford, Sevenoaks, Canterbury, Rushmoor and Hart.
ON THE UP
Indian variant cases are continuing to climb in the UK.
On Friday the latest data from the government showed 1,313 cases, and as of yesterday there were 2,323.
Covid-hit Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen have seen 483 cases of the Indian variant and 27 people hospitalised, and Bedford is now on the watchlist as infections rise.
Health Secretary Mr Hancock said: "The next biggest case of concern is Bedford where we are surging testing – and I would urge everybody in Bedford to exercise caution and engage in testing where it is available."
He said there are 86 local authorities with five or more cases of the mutation, but did not specify where they were.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) also shows that the most infected parts of the country – are also places where the Indian variant is dominant.
Bolton in Greater Manchester has the highest rate of infections in the country, with 811 new cases in the seven days to May 13 – the equivalent of 282.0 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 133.9 in the seven days to May 6, and it is also the area where cases have increased the most in the last seven days.
Addressing MPs yesterday Mr Hancock said some patients in hotspots hospitalised with the Indian variant had refused the jab when offered it.
He urged people to continue to come forward for their vaccines to prevent hospitalisations and deaths.
An estimated 64.1 per cent of over-16s in Bolton had received a jab as of May 9, with 33.5 per cent having had both doses.
In Blackburn the figures were 60.6 per cent for one dose and 28.8 per cent for two.
Around 66.3 per cent of Bedford resident had received a single jab, and 32.3 per cent both doses.
Bedford has the second highest of infections in the country rate, and is also one of the five areas that has been the biggest increase in cases.
Covid-hit Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen have seen 483 cases of the Indian variant and 27 people hospitalised, with Bedford now on the watchlist as infections rise.
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