New Covid variant under investigation in the UK, PHE says
Contact tracing is being used to prevent the variant's spread
Public Health England has confirmed that a new Covid variant has been discovered in the UK and is currently under investigation.
It was declared under investigation as of Wednesday and is currently known as B.1.621.
So far there have been 16 confirmed cases of this variant within the UK, but there is no evidence to suggest that it puts people at any more risk of serious illness.
There is also currently no evidence to suggest that the variant may reduce the efficacy of vaccines, according to Public Health England.
PHE is carrying out laboratory testing to find out more about the variant and assess its impact, and contact tracing and testing is being deployed to limit the variant’s transmission.
This comes as infection rates in England are soaring, with the rates for 20-29 year olds reaching the highest level since mass testing was implemented.
The Delta variant is now the dominant strain amongst these cases, and accounts for 99 per cent of all cases across the UK.
Covid related deaths also increased by 50 per cent in a week, from Wednesday 14 July to Wednesday 21.
Despite all this, England is currently in a state of few Covid restrictions following the monumental "Freedom Day" landmark on Monday.