Health officials issue Covid update on Indian variant in Chesterfield and north Derbyshire
Public health officials have urged people to remain vigilant about Covid-19 as they expect the Indian variant of the virus to become dominant in Derbyshire.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to give a live briefing to the nation this evening as fears grow over the spread of the variant across the UK.
And Dean Wallace Derbyshire’s public health director, says he expects the Indian variant to become the dominant strain in the county, as has happened in Bolton and Blackburn.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council confirmed no cases had yet been recorded in Chesterfield, Bolsover or North East Derbyshire.
Mr Wallace told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the Indian variant is not showing signs that it is more harmful or that it bypasses the Covid-19 vaccines, but that it is spreading more easily.
He said infection rates in Long Eaton – tied to the Wilsthorpe School outbreak – were now dipping rapidly, showing it was tied purely to the school and not the town.
This is a situation much-like the outbreak at Sudbury Prison in the Dales in March.
Mr Wallace says that because the Indian variant is more transmissible, Derbyshire residents need to be more “strict” with their adherence to Covid measures such as social distancing, hand sanitising, wearing a face mask and meeting outdoors.
Mr Wallace said: “I do expect the Indian variant to become our dominant variant (the Kent variant).
“In the North West we are seeing the Indian variant outcompeting our variant and it is quite difficult to get that genie back in the bottle. You could, but the effort would have to be immense.
“I expect that we will start to see more of the Indian variant and it is a bit of a race now between that and vaccinations – to vaccinate as many people as possible before the variant spreads more widely.
“This new wave of Covid will feel very different. The way it rolls through the population will be different – because much of the elderly population and most vulnerable are vaccinated – but not without a cost.”