The variant of coronavirus first identified in India is now the dominant strain in the UK, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
The number of cases confirmed by laboratory analysis rose by 79% over the last week to 12,431. Scientists believe the variant, now known as Delta, has overtaken the Kent, or Alpha, variant. They say that there may also be a higher risk of hospitalisation linked to the Delta variant.
But that is based on early evidence, and PHE say more data is needed to have more confidence in the finding. “With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we all continue to exercise as much caution as possible,” said Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency. “The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of Covid-19 as a whole.”