Home   Kent   News   Article

Indian strain cases rise again in Kent but two districts record zero cases of variant

Two Kent districts are recording no Indian strain cases despite the number detected across the county rising for the fourth week in a row.

Latest figures show there were 149 suspected cases of the variant in the week up to May 28 - up from 105 the week before.

A massive surge testing operation has been launched in Maidstone. Picture: Rapid Relief
A massive surge testing operation has been launched in Maidstone. Picture: Rapid Relief

The strain is on the rise in seven Kent districts, with Medway now recording most, with 34.

But no variant cases have been recorded in the latest week in either Tunbridge Wells or Folkestone and Hythe.

At the same time, the number of Covid patients in Kent's hospitals has halved in a week - from eight to four.

Reassuringly, cases have also fallen in Canterbury, which the week before had the most cases in the south east, resulting in centres being set up for surge testing in two city post codes.

Similar centres have also been launched today in one area of Maidstone, where county health chiefs say there have been 20 total cases of the Indian strain - now known as the Delta variant.

Latest government figures show there were 11 potential cases in the seven days up to May 28 - the same as the week before.

The numbers are only suspected cases as they refer to the presence of the S-gene, which is quicker to track than putting samples through full genomic sequencing.

Tests last month showed 93% of cases in which the S-gene was detected were the Delta variant.

Kent's interim Director of Public Health, Dr Allison Duggal, says the surge testing is part of a "highly precautionary approach" to the recently emerged variant, adding: "We don't want to take anything for granted".

She stressed that the number of cases of the Indian strain - also known as the B.1.617.2 variant - in the county is low.

"We are adopting a highly precautionary approach, continually assessing the situation and acting quickly to tackle outbreaks before they have a chance to spread," she added.

"While the vaccination prevents most people from suffering from severe illness, it doesn’t mean you cannot get Covid-19, and we need to do everything we can to keep the most vulnerable in our communities safe and well.

"If everyone plays their part by continuing to follow the public health advice in their local area, we can break chains of transmission and keep Kent safe."

In the week up to May 29 there were 237 total Covid cases across Kent - a rise of 25%.

At the same time cases in Medway rose from 29 to 71, but both areas still have infection rates below the national average.

The government will wait for the latest data on June 14 before deciding whether to proceed with lifting England’s lockdown the following week.

Some scientists believe the reopening date should be delayed until more people are fully vaccinated, even if all over-50s are double jabbed by June 21.

This is because those receiving their second dose on this date will not be full protected until three weeks later.

But Dr Duggal said on Tuesday: "I'm still hopeful that we'll get to June 21 and we'll be OK, and that we'll be able to start lifting the restrictions.

"I will be certainly talking to central government about the results of this testing [in Kent], and if we feel that it's unwise, it's part of my job that I have to say if it's unwise.

"It has to be the right time for us to ease restrictions.

"But at the moment, we don't have anything that says we shouldn't."

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More