UK reports 3,424 cases of Indian COVID variant

The spread of the variant first detected in India has resulted in surge testing and vaccinations in many areas across the UK.

London: A total of 3,424 cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant have been recorded in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Public Health England (PHE).

The B1617.2 variant of concern is believed to be more transmissible than the Kent variant that had become dominant in Britain, Xinhua news agency reported citing the PHE as saying on Thursday.

The spread of the variant first detected in India has resulted in surge testing and vaccinations in many areas across the UK.

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The latest figure came after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday that 2,967 cases of the COVID-19 virus variant have been reported in Britain, 28 per cent up from Monday’s figure of more than 2,300.

Hancock has warned that the variant can “spread like wildfire” among those who haven’t received a jab.

Earlier Thursday, a UK government advisory scientist warned that the Indian COVID-19 variant could lead to another wave in the country.

“The virus just got faster,” said Andrew Hayward, a professor from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), indicating that the country could be at the start of a third wave of the pandemic.

“That really brings it back down to this race against the vaccine and the virus,” Hayward, an infectious diseases expert at University College London, told the BBC.

Nearly 37.2 million people, or more than 70 per cent of adults in Britain, have received the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

The UK has so far reported 4,471,061 coronavirus cases and 127,963 deaths.

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