Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

New Thai Covid variant found in UK – Public Health England investigating

Indian coronavirus variant 'under analysis' says Harries

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The C.36.3 variant was first detected in Thailand in cases of people who had originally travelled from Egypt. Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows the new variant is under investigation as of May 24. 

The data, published today, shows 109 cases of the new Thai strain have been discovered in the UK.

Health chiefs are investigating the variant on the basis of the mutation profile and increased importation from a widening international area.

However, public health officials made clear there was no evidence that the new strain causes more severe disease.

A PHE spokesman, said: “PHE is carrying out laboratory testing to better understand the impact of the mutations on the behaviour of the virus.

“All appropriate public health interventions will be undertaken, including additional contact tracing and targeted testing.

“Where cases have been identified, additional follow-up of cases, testing of contacts and if required targeted case finding will limit its spread.”

The findings came as it emerged that 6,959 cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus had been confirmed in the UK up to May 26, a rise of 3,535 on the previous week.

Public Health England (PHE) said the local areas most affected by the Indian variant of coronavirus continued to be Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen, which have seen 1,354, 366 and 361 confirmed cases respectively.

PHE also said that across England 201 people who were confirmed to have the Indian variant had attended A&E up to May 25, resulting in 43 admissions.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said that many of the outbreaks were centred on “focal points” such as community centres, schools or faith buildings.

Speaking at tonight’s Downing Street briefing, she added: “The cases actually do look as though they are starting to plateau out but the spillover into community transmission in local areas is an important one.

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