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New COVID-19 variant under investigation in UK

July 23, 2021
With 16 cases confirmed so far, experts at Public Health England are urgently carrying out an analysis of the new variant. — Courtesy file photo
With 16 cases confirmed so far, experts at Public Health England are urgently carrying out an analysis of the new variant. — Courtesy file photo

LONDON — A new coronavirus variant is under investigation in the United Kingdom, the government said in a press statement on Friday.

With 16 cases confirmed so far, experts at Public Health England are urgently carrying out an analysis of the new variant.

They say there is no evidence to suggest the strain makes the vaccines any less effective.

Most of the cases have been linked to overseas travel and there is currently no evidence of community transmission in the UK, PHE added as it published weekly coronavirus data on Friday.

According to new data, cases of the Delta variant in the UK have risen by 33,716 since last week to a total of 286,765.

Of these, 45 are the Delta AY.1 sub-lineage. The Delta variant currently accounts for approximately 99 percent of cases across the UK.

PHE also published the latest edition of the variant technical briefing. This includes updated hospitalizations data showing that between June 21 and July 19, 1,788 people were admitted to hospital after testing positive for the delta variant.

Of these, 970 (54.3 percent) were unvaccinated, while 530 (29.6 percent) had received both doses of the vaccine. In total, 3,692 people have been hospitalized with the Delta variant, of whom 2,152 (58.3 percent) were unvaccinated and 843 (22.8 percent) were fully vaccinated.

PHE also published updated risk assessments for the Delta and Beta variants. The Delta risk assessment has been updated to reflect early signs of increased risk of reinfection with Delta compared to Alpha. Further investigations are being undertaken.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “This most recent hospitalization data shows once again just how crucial vaccination is in protecting us from severe illness and death.”

“Two doses of vaccine are far more effective against COVID-19 than a single dose, so please make sure that you come forward to get your second dose as soon as you are invited,” he added. — Agencies


July 23, 2021
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