Map shows how Indian variant of Covid is now surrounding Milton Keynes
The highly transmissible variant is edging closer and closer to MK
The Covid-19 variant which was first identified in India has now been found in Bedford, South Northants, Buckingham and Aylesbury.
In each area there has been only a cluster of cases and public health officials hope to keep these under control by surge testing.
Each area has strong links with MK, which has not yet seen a single case of the variant,
In neighbouring Bedford, the borough council confirmed earlier this week it had been notified of seven cases of the strain.
The authority said it was working with Public Health England to investigate the cases.
Vicky Head, the council's director of public health, said officials are working closely with the education settings and PHE to ensure that all close contacts of those affected are identified and advised to self-isolate for 10 days.
In South Northants, which borders Milton Keynes, five cases of the variant have been detected. Again those affected are strictly self-isolating,
Nearby Buckingham has seen a "cluster" of cases - believed to be eight - at the University of Buckingham campus. They have not been linked to any international travel, say officials.
The university has emailed all staff and students about the variant..
Yesterday it was confirmed a "small number" of cases had been found in the Kingsbrook area of Aylesbury.
The people involved have self-isolated and followed all of the recommended guidance.
A spokesman for Buckinghamshire Council said: "We are asking all Kingsbrook residents, businesses and visitors in the HP22 7AA to HP22 7BP postcode areas to undertake PCR testing so that we can help avoid the spread of this variant and understand whether it is spreading in our community.
"Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space-fresh air and current lockdown guidelines, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the new variant."
These PCR tests should be done even if people are not showing any symptoms, they have previously had Covid-19, or they have had a Covid-19 vaccination, says the council.
Aylesbury has strong links with Milton Keynes with many local students going to grammar schools there and adults commuting to MK to work.
According to sources speaking to iNews this week, UK cases of the highly transmissible Indian variant have more than tripled in a week.
They claim scientists advising the government fear the final stage out of lockdown could be delayed due to the surge.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already warned that the strain, one of three mutations causing the devastating epidemic in India, is “of increasing concern here in the UK”.
Members of Sage have been called to a meeting today (Thursday) to assess the threat.