Concern after Indian and South African variant Covid cases confirmed in Derbyshire
People who live or work in a Derbyshire town are being urged to remain cautious after it was confirmed a rise in cases of Covid-19 is linked to new variants of the virus.
The warning comes after two cases in Long Eaton were confirmed as 'variants of concern' – a new Indian variant and the South African variant that spread more easily.
It follows a large outbreak of Covid-19 at Wilsthorpe Academy in the town which resulted in more than 170 staff and pupils testing positive – although none of these cases have so far been found to be variants of concern.
Derbyshire’s Director of Public Health Dean Wallace says he understands the development will cause concern and has renewed his call for residents and those employed in the area to get tested whether they have symptoms or not.
He said: “We understand that people will be concerned that two ‘variants of concern’ have been confirmed in Long Eaton but I’d like to reassure everyone that we’re working closely with Public Health England to minimise the spread.
“There is currently no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness, are more deadly or make the current vaccines any less effective, but they do spread more easily – which is why we need everyone to be extra vigilant.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a test if you have symptoms, including a wider range of symptoms which people have been experiencing locally, as well as regular twice-weekly testing if you have no symptoms.
"We’ve put extra local testing in place to make it even easier for those who want to go to a testing centre rather than carry it out at home."
Mr Wallace urged people in Long Eaton and across Derbyshire to take a ‘sensible approach’ to the easing of restriction on Monday and to ‘think carefully about the risks to their loved ones before making any decisions about mixing indoors’.
Mr Wallace added: “We’ve come so far in our fight against this pandemic and the vaccine has been a real turning point, but this outbreak is a timely reminder that Covid hasn’t gone away.”
For more information about the outbreak in Long Eaton, including how to get tested and help if you have to self-isolate, visit derbyshire.gov.uk/longeaton