To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of the newly identified strain of covid-19 (a) nationally, (b) in Hampshire and (c) in Portsmouth South constituency; and if he will make a statement.
11 January 2021
The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when Public Health England (PHE) was investigating why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions, discovering a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex. 144 lower tier local authorities have identified at least one case genomically, although the vast majority of cases identified are in London, the South East and the East of England.
PHE is working with partners, such as Imperial College, Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham, to investigate this variant. There is currently no evidence that the variant is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality, but investigations are continuing to understand this better.