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Local restrictions could be imposed as rising Indian variant strikes 28 areas in England

by LLB Politics Reporter
12th May 21 11:14 am

The government has refused to rule out imposing local restrictions in areas across England as 28 new Covid hotspots have been identified.

Four areas in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland and 28 local authority areas in England have twice the national average of the Indian variant, according to a Sky News analysis.

However, the average number of infections across the UK have now fallen to their lowest levels.

Environment Minister George Eustice was asked if the government are concerned over the hotspots.

Eustice said, “We are not sure what could be driving it, whether it’s particular variants that have taken hold of people being a bit too lax about restrictions that are in place.”

He was then asked if this means that restrictions could be imposed again, he said, “We can’t rule anything out.

“We want this to be the last (lockdown) and want to avoid going back into a tiered system.”

Infections over the last two weeks have more than tripled in the north of England, with Bolton and Hyndbyrn in Lancashire now both have the highest rates in England.

As many as 50 pupils and staff at Mount Carmel High School in Hyndbyrn had an outbreak, and Bolton has a high number of infections which has been linked to people travelling from India.

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty warned England must “keep an eye” on the virus that has ravaged India as it is taking hold in parts of the country.

The chief medical officer admitted that he does not know if the Indian double mutant variant could create “significant problems” in the autumn.

The government are monitoring the situation closely, but Eustice insisted the “overall the picture is good.”

He added, “We’ve got falling incidence of the virus, and obviously with the success of the vaccine rollout as well far fewer hospitalisations and deaths are at a very low level.”

Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at Public Health England (PHE) said, “We are monitoring all of these variants extremely closely.

“We have taken the decision to classify this as a variant of concern because the indications are that this VOC-21APR-02 is a more transmissible variant.”

PHE have labelled the strain B.1617.2 as a “variant of concern” as indications show that this variant is more “transmissible.”

PHE warned that most of the cases are prevalent in Bolton and in London, and almost half of the cases were related to a contact with a traveller or related to travel.

PHE are trying to attempt to control the spread of the new Indian variant along with three sub types of the “double variant” has doubled to 520 cases this last week compared to 202 the week before.

Covid patients in India are being diagnosed with Mucormycosis which is also known as a “black fungus” which has been found in people who have recovered.

The black fungus rots the patients organs and there has been five times as many of the cases.

There was almost 3,000 deaths on Monday and almost 370,000 cases were reported, but experts believe the real number is far higher.

Patients who have a weak immune system or diabetes are more likely to suffer with the aggressive black fungi.

Khusrav Bajan, a member of the Mumbai’s Covid-19 taskforce said that up to 300 cases have been confirmed.

Bajan warned, “The mortality rate is very high… Even the few that recover, only recover with extensive and aggressive surgery.

“This is a fast-moving infection. It can grow within two weeks… It’s a Catch-22, coming out of a virus and getting into a fungal infection. It’s really bad.”

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