Indian variant warning as Sunderland coronavirus cases more than double in a fortnight
Sunderland people have been urged not to let up in the war on coronavirus as the number of cases in the city more than doubled in a fortnight.
In the 14 days up to and including yesterday, Monday June 7, there were 159 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in Sunderland, a rise of 93 on the 66 recorded in the previous two weeks.
Although the rise in numbers is nowhere near the level seen in the city earlier in the year, when hundreds of new cases were being confirmed every day, there is still concern that the new Indian – or delta – variant of the virus could lead to an increase in infections.
The strain of the virus – B.1.617.2 – is feared to be spreading more quickly than the previous Kent variant, which was behind a surge in cases over the winter.
Experts say the new variant is more easily transmitted than previous variants of the virus.
Figures published by Public Health England yesterday show just seven cases of the Indian variant had been recorded in Sunderland by June 2.
The Sunderland patients are among at least 142 cases of the mutation recorded across the North East, which is the least affected of England's nine regions
Sunderland City Council's Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning Gerry Taylor said there had so far been few cases of the new variant in the city but it was important that people did not let their guard down.
"The number of confirmed cases of the Delta – formerly known as Indian - variant remains small,” she said.
“Our overall case numbers have increased slightly over the last few days so it is vitally important that we all, as we have already been doing, continue to follow the guidance on hands, face, space and fresh air.”
Continued testing was an important part of ensuring the virus did not spread, she added: “You can test yourself twice weekly if you don’t have symptoms or have been vaccinated.
“And if you do have symptoms, however mild, including a new, continuous cough, high temperature and changes to your senses of taste and smell, then please self-isolate straight-away and order or book a PCR test.”