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Indian COVID-19 variant found in Stoke-on-Trent

Published: Friday, 28th May 2021

As COVID-19 cases in Stoke-on-Trent continue to be at a low level, a very small number of cases of the “Indian variant” have now been found in the city.

Fewer than five cases of the Indian variant have been confirmed within the city.

Nationally, the Indian variant of the coronavirus has been classed as a ‘variant of concern’ by Public Health England, and is being monitored closely.

There is currently no cause for concern that it is spreading in the wider community in Stoke-on-Trent, and residents are being reminded to stay safe and follow the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ guidance to help prevent cases from spreading widely.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Adult Social Care, Health Integration and Wellbeing (Director of Public Health) at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We know there has been a lot of talk in the media on the Indian variant of COVID-19. We have now seen a very small number of cases – fewer than five – of this variant in Stoke-on-Trent. This is not a surprise, as we have seen that the Indian variant is spreading in a number of areas across the country. Through our widely established monitoring of cases, we have been able to identified the variant quickly, and give support to those people who are affected. We know that we will see numbers of cases of this variant increase in the city, and that it will eventually become the dominant strain, as we saw with the Kent variant. We are monitoring our city’s case rates closely and we will continue to work closely with Public Health England and partners to offer support where needed to tackle the virus.

“We must continue to be really cautious to protect ourselves and our loved ones – particularly as more of us are now seeing our families and friends, and getting out and about. Although close contact with our loved ones is allowed, it’s vital that we are sensible and keep in mind that COVID-19 is very easily transmitted through close contact. Stay safe, think carefully, and follow ‘Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air’ to help prevent transmitting the virus. Although we can mix indoors in groups of up to six people or as two households, it is much better to meet up with others outside as fresh air is known to lower the risk of transmission of COVID-19, so please do make the most of the warmer weather. If you do need to meet inside, please ensure you keep rooms well ventilated and open windows where you can.

“Getting tested at least twice a week – even if you have received your vaccination, as you can still catch and spread the virus – is also important in helping to identify and squash any potential outbreaks. If you are not showing any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss of change to your sense of taste or smell – you can access quick and free lateral flow tests to take at home or at one of our community testing venues. If you are showing one of the three main symptoms, please make sure you book a PCR test.

“If you haven’t yet had your vaccine and have been called for it, please do make an appointment to receive it as soon as possible – whether it’s your first or second dose. It is vital you book your second dose when you are asked to as this will give you more protection against the virus. Please also remember that not everybody is vaccinated, and therefore there are still people in our community who are at a higher risk of becoming very poorly from COVID-19. I cannot stress enough how important it is for everybody to take up the vaccine when it is offered to them – it is your best form of protection from this dreadful virus.

“The Government is also advising people to minimise travel to areas affected by the Indian variant. You can find out more information about these areas on the Government website.*”

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “I am so proud of our city for the way we have handled the pandemic over the past year. Many of us are now enjoying the relaxation of the restrictions – especially as the Bank Holiday weekend and half-term is approaching – but as the Indian variant has now reached Stoke-on-Trent, we must be really cautious. It’s vital we follow ‘Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air’ and that we stick to all the guidance on testing at least twice a week, visiting places safely, and on self-isolation as appropriate. It’s down to us to protect those who are vulnerable and weigh up the risks – please remember close contact increases the risk of transmitting the disease and meeting outdoors is always safer than indoors.  

“All of these measures will go a long way in helping to protect us from any variant of the virus. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still very much with us and we must each take personal responsibility to prevent it from spreading by following the guidance.”

*https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do#if-youre-in-an-area-where-the-new-covid-19-variant-is-spreading

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/main-symptoms/

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For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

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