Bolton named as UK hotspot for Indian Covid variant as cases double

Bolton has started surge testing to help contain the spread of the Indian Covid variant after it became a UK hotspot with infection cases almost doubling.

The town’s vaccination process has been sped up along with the testing as part of new measures to control the movement of the virus.

Latest infection rates show an increase from 50 to 89 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the England average of 20.6 cases per 100,000.

Most disturbing is the 500 percent rise in the infection rates, to 359.3 per 100,000 people in the Rumworth South area.

Public health officers will be going from door to door to reinforce the emergency in Bolton for residents.

Both the Indian and South African variants have been found now in Bolton.

The town’s health officials have told the government to start surge testing in specific areas where there has been a large increase in infections.

There have been 13 cases of the Indian variant so far in Bolton while 48 clusters have been detected across the UK.

Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, said: “There is no evidence these variants cause more severe illness, there is some evidence that the Indian variant spreads more easily than other Covid-19 variants so it is the one that we want to stop and contain.

“We are working closely with our partners across the community to identify people who have the virus, to increase the numbers of our eligible residents having the vaccine and to remind us all that Covid has not gone away.

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“These measures are designed to bring the virus under control, but there are basic things we can all do to stop covid spreading.”

Surge testing centres with Lateral Flow Device tests have been set up in venues including a Hindu temple and a large Polymerase Chain Reaction site.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 87 (28 percent) have seen a rise in rates, 214 (68 percent) have seen a fall and 14 are unchanged.

Hyndburn in Lancashire continues to have the highest rate, with 90 new cases in the seven days to May 3 – the equivalent of 111.1 cases per 100,000 people.

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