Everything we know so far after the Indian Covid-19 variant is detected in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council has confirmed that a “very small number” of cases of the Indian Covid variant have been discovered on Wearside.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 10:05 am

The local authority confirmed the cases on Wednesday, May 26, with health bosses in the city encouraging residents to take up regular testing and follow Covid-19 guidelines.

Sunderland City Council have said that all affected cases are currently self-isolating and the advice of Public Health officials is being followed.

The cases come as the Government declared North Tyneside as a “hotspot” for the newest variant of the virus.

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Sunderland City Council have confirmed that cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant have been discovered on Wearside.

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Covid-19 Indian variant discovered in Sunderland

Last updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2021, 15:20

  • Sunderland City Council have confirmed that a “very small number” of cases of the Indian variant have been recorded in Sunderland.
  • Officials have confirmed that all guidance is being followed on the variant.
  • Council bosses have said that all known affected cases are currently self-isolating.

Covid-19 Indian variant discovered in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council have confirmed on Wednesday, May 26, that a “very small number” of cases of the Indian variant have been recorded on Wearside.

What is the Indian variant?

The so called “Indian variant” is a variation of Covid-19 that was first discovered in India.

According to Public Health officials, there is no evidence to suggest that this variant of the virus makes people more ill.

However, there is evidence that the variant of the virus is spread to others more easily.

How many cases are there in Sunderland?

Sunderland City Council have not given the exact number of cases of the variant recorded.

The local authority have revealed on Wednesday, May 26, that a “very small number” of cases of the Indian variant have been recorded.

The council said that all affected cases are self-isolating and that Public Health guidance is being followed.

Surge testing in North Tyneside

The Government have identified North Tyneside as a “hotspot” for the new variant after a rise in cases.

It means that surge testing has been introduced for residents in North Tyneside as a method of trying to halt the spread of the illness.

But the North East as a whole is one of the regions least affected by the variant.

How many cases have been recorded across England?

The data shows 6,729 positive cases of the Indian variant were recorded in England between the start of March and May 11 – up from 4,363 by May 5.

Of these, 47 (1%) were in the North East – the smallest proportion of England’s nine regions, and well behind the North West, where there are almost 3,000.

PHE analysis suggests that of a national sample of 1,192 positive S-gene specimens, 93% were found to be the B.1.617.2 Indian mutation.

The data comes as a separate PHE study found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were highly effective against the Indian strain after a second dose.

What does the rise in the variant mean for exiting lockdown?

The next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is set to go ahead from June 21 - with almost all social distancing measures to be removed.

The efficacy of the vaccines against the new variants is seen as a major obstacle blocking the next stage of the roadmap, but the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency said the possibility of restrictions being eased on June 21 was “looking good”.

However, Dr Jenny Harries urged the public to be cautious to avoid another lockdown, warning that the new Indian variant has become the “dominant strain” in some parts of the country.

She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “It’s looking good if people are continuing to observe all of the safety signals, so we should not stop doing what we’re doing, particularly in areas where we have that variant of concern.”

When were the cases in Sunderland recorded?

As well as not really the total of cases recorded, Sunderland City Council have also not confirmed where the cases were recorded or when they were recorded.

All that is known is that the affected cases are currently self-isolating and following the advice of Public Health England.

No surge testing for Sunderland

Sunderland City Council have confirmed that there will be no surge testing on Wearside despite cases of the Indian variant being detected.

Gerry Taylor, Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning at the council has encouraged people to continue following the testing programme.

She said: “We are continuing to offer our current testing programme and would encourage everyone to test twice weekly with an LFD of self-test if they don’t have symptoms, even if they have had both doses of the vaccine and to self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test if they have symptoms no matter how mild, such as  a new persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in sense of taste and smell.  It’s also really important that we all get both doses of the vaccine when it is offered.

“At the moment there are no plans to introduce surge testing in the city.”

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