New Covid variant emerges in UK as Delta cases rise by 33,716 in a week

 A NEW coronavirus variant is under investigation as cases of the Delta variant have risen by 33,716 in a week.

Experts at Public Health England (PHE) are currently carrying out analysis of B.1.621 and have confirmed 16 cases of the variant.

A new variant has been deemed as under investigation bu Public Health England
A new variant has been deemed as under investigation bu Public Health EnglandCredit: Getty

There is no evidence to suggest that the strain causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines any less effective.

Where cases of the new variant have been detected, health officials have followed up and tested contacts.

If necessary PHE will deploy surge testing to limit the spread.

It has also been found in Colombia (325 sequenced cases), the US (264) and Spain (196), among a number of other countries.

PHE also said cases of the Delta variant have risen by 33,716 since last week, to a total of 286,765.

The variant now make up 99 per cent of all cases in the UK and PHE have urged Brits to continue to get their jabs.

It comes as:

New research suggests the Delta variant may be able to infect people more easily than the Alpha variant, PHE said.

While the overall chances of getting reinfected are very low, the Delta variant, first identified in India, PHE believes it is 46 per cent more likely to do so.

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It comes after more data showed the majority of Covid-19 deaths in the double vaccinated are in the over-50s, but lower levels have been seen in those who are younger and double jabbed.

Of those over the age of 50, 415 people died within 28 days of testing positive from Feb 1 to July 19.

Of that total, 131 were unvaccinated, 220 had two doses, and 57 had one. It's not clear from the PHE reports what percentage of people had underlying health conditions.

In comparison there were 45 deaths in people under the age of 50 over the same time period.

So far in the UK over 46.4 million Brits have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, with 36.7 million also having had a second.

The data released by PHE today comes as the Government yesterday reported 39,906 new Covid diagnoses, which was almost 18 per cent lower than last Thursday’s figure and down for the first time since May.

Experts have warned this is a temporary fall in cases and that it doesn't affect the current case rate - as there is always a lag in data.


In the seven days before restrictions were lifted, data showed that infections were highest in the 20 to 29 group with over 1,154 infections per 100,000 people having been recorded.

This is the highest rate in any age group since the pandemic began.

But vaccines are doing their job and while people are still being infected, the number of people needed hospital treatment is still low.

Vaccines are most effective when you have had two doses and data previously published by experts in Israel found that effectiveness in stopping cases of Delta and symptomatic disease fell to 64 per cent, as of June 6 for the Pfizer jab.

But the vaccine is still 93 per cent effective at preventing serious illness or hospitalisations.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency said: "This most recent hospitalisation data shows once again just how crucial vaccination is in protecting us from severe illness and death.She said: "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.

“As we emerge from restrictions and vaccine coverage continues to rise, it is important to remember that while the protection provided by vaccination is excellent, it is not total.

"It is still as important as ever that we continue to exercise caution. Remember that meeting outside is safer than inside, get two doses of the vaccine as soon as you can, isolate if you are told to by NHS Test & Trace and if you show symptoms stay home and get a PCR test.

"Covid-19 has not gone away and we must all continue to play our part.”

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