Preston records big leap in Delta variant cases
Rise in people in city with Covid-19 strain increases by one third
More than 350 further cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus have been recorded in Preston new figures reveal.
The UK Health Security Agency is urging all those eligible to get a vaccine to break the chain of transmission.
Public Health England figures show 1,395 cases of the Delta variant – first identified in India – had been recorded in Preston by June 30.
That was 363 more than the 1,032 cases recorded the week before.
Those identified in the latest week were among at least 55,936 cases of the variant recorded across the North West – the worst affected of England's nine regions.
By contrast, the South West had recorded 5,550 cases by June 30.
Across the UK, 50,824 more cases were recorded in the last week to reach a total of 161,981 – a 46% increase.
Of these, 42 are the so-called Delta plus variant, which India’s health ministry has said spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to some drug therapy which can help neutralise the virus.
Three weeks ago, a total of 42,323 cases of the Delta variant had been identified in the UK, meaning the number has now increased almost four-fold.
But while the Delta variant now accounts for around 95% of new cases sequenced in the UK, the number of people being hospitalised with the infection is not rising proportionally.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "The data suggest this is testament to the success of the vaccination programme so far and clearly demonstrates the importance of getting both doses of the vaccine.
"Come forward as soon as you are eligible. It will help us to break the chain of transmission, and it will save lives."
She added that the best thing people could do to protect themselves and loved ones from Covid-19 was to get the vaccine, if eligible, and get tested twice a week.
"Practice ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times," she said.
Of the 161,981 cases of the Delta variant recorded across the UK, 148,538 have been identified in England, 10,185 in Scotland, 1,749 in Wales and 1,509 in Northern Ireland.