Milton Keynes has one of highest rates in UK for cases of new 'Delta Plus' Covid variant

Downing Street is monitoring the new variant

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:18 am

A new Delta variant known as AY.4.2, or Delta Plus, is currently being monitored by Downing Street.

And their figures have revealed Milton Keynes is one of the top 10 highest places in the UK for the new variant.

This week the government has renewed its calls for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after warning of the potential threat.

The new variant

The descendant of the Delta variant has been slowly increasing in case numbers in the UK, although there is currently no evidence that it spreads more easily.

Out of 174 tests analysed at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse, 44 were found to be Delta Plus cases. This equated to 25.3%.

This equated to 20 cases found in Bedford (15.4%) and six in Luton (4.3%).

Data is based on the number of confirmed cases of the Delta Plus variant from Covid-19 tests that were genomically sequenced in the week to 9 October.

The new variant is spreading

And the data is NOT a definitive count of Delta Plus cases by area, since only a small sample of Covid tests are taken away to be genomically sequenced.

Scientists have said Delta Plus carries two characteristic mutations in the spike - Y145H and A222V - both of which have been found in other coronavirus lineages since the start of the pandemic.

However, these strains have remained at a low frequency until recently, with the first to carry both mutations being sequenced in April 2020.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that new variants are being identified “all the time” and, at the moment, Delta Plus poses no greater threat than any other variant.

But Mr Javid urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and take up the offer of a booster dose, to help keep infections under control after warning cases could rise to 100,000 per day this winter.

He said: “While there’s no reason to believe at this point that AY.4.2 poses a greater threat, the next variant, or the one after that, might do.

“So we need to be ready for what lies around the corner. This means our ongoing programme of booster jabs is so important, and this winter we’re prioritising those most in need.”

While the government has said it is “keeping a close eye” on cases, where in the UK has recorded the most Delta Plus cases so far?

Other areas with the highest number of Delta Plus cases include Birmingham, Solihull, Stockport, Dorset, Aylesbury Vale, Leeds and Exeter.