30,000 new cases of 'more transmissible' Delta Covid variant in last week, PHE data shows

11 June 2021, 10:50 | Updated: 12 June 2021, 07:48

Members of the Armed Forces at a mobile Covid-19 vaccination centre outside Bolton Town Hall
Members of the Armed Forces at a mobile Covid-19 vaccination centre outside Bolton Town Hall. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Nearly 30,000 more cases of the Indian (Delta) coronavirus variant have been confirmed in the UK in the last week, new data from Public Health England (PHE) shows.

42,323 cases of the Delta variant that originated in India have been confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from last week.

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days, it added.

PHE also said the Delta variant carries up to 60 per cent greater risk of household transmission than other common variants.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told LBC this morning: "We know in places like Bolton, and Blackburn that in 12,500 cases of the Delta variant, 75% of those people were not vaccinated.

"Some of them had one dose only. Really important that we continue to double dose and protect the whole country."

However he admitted that Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine supplies will be "tight" over the next few weeks, but said he is still confident of offering every adult a first dose by the end of July.

His comments come after Scotland's Health Secretary warned supply of the vaccine will be "particularly tight" over the next few weeks, restricting the vaccination programme's rollout.

Humza Yousaf has written to his UK Government counterpart Matt Hancock to ask what can be done to increase the supply.

Mr Zahawi told LBC: "I am absolutely confident, and I'll speak to Humza on this, that we will be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccines that Scotland needs to be able to meet its targets for end of July, as the United Kingdom target."

Asked if it would be "tight" in the next few weeks, he said: "It will be, there is no doubt. Every time I've come on your show I've said that the determining factor in terms of vaccine-in-arms is supply.

"And supply remains finite, but it is stable, and Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule.

"Pfizer have done remarkable things to increase their production, not just for us but for the whole world, for Europe and the US as well. But it is tight."

He said every country has a delivery schedule, adding: "I'm confident that Scotland will be able to meet the target of offering every adult at least one dose by the end of July, as we will in England as well."

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More than 90% of new Covid-19 cases are now the Delta variant, with new research suggesting it is associated with an approximately 60% increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha or Kent strain, PHE said.

In England, 39,061 cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus have been confirmed, along with 3,035 in Scotland, 184 in Wales and 43 in Northern Ireland.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "With numbers of Delta variant cases on the rise across the country, vaccination is our best defence.

"If you are eligible, we urge you to come forward and be vaccinated. Remember that two doses provide significantly more protection than a single dose.

"However, while vaccination reduces the risk of severe disease, it does not eliminate it.

"With data showing that Delta is significantly more transmissible than Alpha, it is just as important as ever to follow public health advice, which has not changed.

"Get vaccinated, work from home where you can and remember 'hands, face, space, fresh air' at all times. These measures work, and they save lives."

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