Data released by the Wellcome Sanger Institute shows that the Delta (Indian) variant of COVID-19, made up over 90% of sequences recorded in Herefordshire in the two weeks ending 5th June. This is a huge increase on the 13.3% of sequences that were recorded as this variant in the two weeks ending 29th May.
This won’t come as too much of a surprise to health boards, with the majority of the United Kingdom now seeing the Delta variant as the dominant strain of the virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will update the public later on COVID-19 restrictions, with the planned relaxation of restrictions planned for 21st June expected to be delayed by four weeks, due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant and its increased transmissibility. With the vast majority of people in the UK now having received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s hoped that a four week delay can be used to focus more time on getting the majority of people fully vaccinated before restrictions are released any further.
The decision by Boris Johnson and his government is bound to be met with a mixed reaction, with a number of business owners concerned over their viability if they are forced to remain closed for longer, however the Prime Minister will have support from scientific advisers and other members of his cabinet who share concerns over the spread of this strain. Scientists are believed to want more time before restrictions are relaxed so that they can see if hospitalisations level off and deaths remain low as a result of the vaccine rollout.