It has been confirmed this evening that four cases of the COVID-19 variant (B.1.617.2) first discovered in India, have now been recorded in Herefordshire.

The four cases were recorded in the two weeks ending 8th May and made up 16.7% of all the COVID-19 cases recorded in the county. This variant of concern is being watched closely, with areas such as Bolton, Blackburn and Bedford all recorded a significant number of cases over recent days and months.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier confirmed that 127 local authority areas had recorded cases of this variant, however around two thirds of these areas have now recorded more than one case.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute (Wellcome Sanger Institute) confirmed that four cases of the variant had been recorded in Herefordshire, out of the 2,323 that had been recorded in the United Kingdom. One case has also been confirmed in Worcestershire, but no cases have been recorded in Shropshire or Gloucestershire at present, according to the latest data released.

It should be noted that despite this news, Herefordshire’s overall COVID-19 infection rate remains low (17.1 cases per 100,000 population in the seven days ending 12th May) and there is no indication of widespread community spread of this variant or any other variant in Herefordshire at this present time.