Delta Plus variant: Birmingham has highest number of recorded new Covid strain cases in England

Downing Street is monitoring a new Delta variant, known as AY4.2, or Delta Plus - with a high number od cases detected in Birmingham

Birmingham has the highest number of Delta Plus cases identified in England - and Solihull has the fifth highest number of cases of the new Delta variant, according to provisional data.

In Solihull more than a quarter of tested samples were found to be Delta Plus which is the highest in the country. The rate in Birmingham is 15.5%.

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The figures have come to light as a new Delta variant, known as AY.4.2, or Delta Plus, is being monitored by Downing Street.

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.

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.

Where in the UK has recorded the most Delta Plus cases so far?

Analysis of Covid-19 samples in England reveals the areas where the highest number of AY.4.2 variant has been identified.

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.

These figures do not show the overall number of Delta Plus cases, as not all tests are genomically sequenced.

Birmingham has the highest number of recorded Delta Plus cases, with 72 identified.

And Solihull has the fifth highest number of Delta Plus cases in the country, where more than a quarter of tested samples were found to be Delta Plus.

These are the 10 areas with the highest number of Delta Plus cases in England, based on the data available.

1. Birmingham

Number of tests sequenced: 462. Number of Delta Plus cases: 72. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 15.6

2. Dorset

Number of tests sequenced: 206. Number of Delta Plus cases: 60. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 29.1

3. Aylesbury Vale

Number of tests sequenced: 171. Number of Delta Plus cases: 56. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 32.7

4. Cheshire East

Number of tests sequenced: 335. Number of Delta Plus cases: 55. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 16.4

5. Solihull

Number of tests sequenced: 194. Number of Delta Plus cases: 51. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 26.3

6. Stockport

Number of tests sequenced: 277. Number of Delta Plus cases: 51. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 18.4

7. Isle of Wight

Number of tests sequenced: 136. Number of Delta Plus cases: 46. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 33.8

8. Milton Keynes

Number of tests sequenced: 174. Number of Delta Plus cases: 44. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 25.3

9. Leeds

Number of tests sequenced: 545. Number of Delta Plus cases: 37. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 6.8

10. Exeter

Number of tests sequenced: 81. Number of Delta Plus cases: 35. Percentage of cases that were Delta Plus: 43.2

How is the Government responding to rising cases?

Sajid 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.”

A version of this story appeared in our sister title NationalWorld

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