Coronavirus “Indian variant” cases in Wales “can all be traced back to points of travel” Wales’ Chief Medical Officer
There are now 57 confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 so called “Indian variant” of coronavirus in Wales.
However these are being treated as “clusters” and can all be traced back to points of travel, Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton today confirmed.
Cases have been confirmed all health board areas across Wales – excluding Powys – with many in the Cardiff and Vale area.
Five incidences have been found in the North Wales region, all of which can be linked back to one identified traveller.
Data released by Public Health England over the weekend suggest that full course two doses of Astrazeneca / Pfizer vaccines remain effective against the variant.
However there are concerns that the variant is more transmissible than the Kent variant, which became the dominant variant across the UK following an outbreak in December 2020.
Speaking at today’s coronavirus press briefing, Dr Atherton said: “The important thing is that these are in Wales all traceable back to a point of entry, so we’ve managed them as clusters.
“That’s a really important point because if we look across the border into England and certainly up into Scotland, in the Glasgow area, what seems to be happening there is that there is broader widespread community transmission. That’s a much more difficult thing, of course, to contain.
“Whereas here in Wales, we’re managing them as clusters, around points of entry.
“We’ve seen cases in Cardiff and Vale, we’ve seen cases in Swansea Bay and a small number of cases up in the north, so they are dotted around in Wales with a specific clustering around Cardiff.”
Asked whether the Welsh Government could follow Scottish ministers and introduce travel restrictions into hotspots in England, such as Bolton, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that a decision hadn’t been made but the situation would be kept under review.
In terms of whether the Indian variant could delay any further easing of restrictions, the health minister said: “We’re very aware of the Indian variant and the additional threat that can bring, particularly at a time when we are relaxing the restrictions.
“But I am confident that the people of Wales will behave in a way that they have done throughout the pandemic, that they have followed the guidance that we’ve set out.
“We’d expect those people who are responsible for opening up our pubs or restaurants, our hospitality or tourism sector to follow the guidance that has been set out and I’m sure the public will adhere to that advice.”
You can view the briefing and Q&A below:
Yn fyw gyda’r Gweinidog Iechyd a’r Prif Swyddog Meddygol | Live Press Conference with the Health Minister and the Chief Medical Officer https://t.co/jzFlEvSg2k
— Welsh Government #KeepWalesSafe (@WelshGovernment) May 24, 2021
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