Indian variant outbreak forces 1,000 pupils to self-isolate – thousands more to be tested

So far 28 positive cases of Covid have been discovered in Leek, Staffordshire.

They were all linked to Westwood College, St Edward’s Middle School and Leek High School.

Staffordshire County Council believes that some of these cases will be the quicker spreading Indian variant.

In a bid to control the outbreak, more than 1,000 students and staff are now self-isolating after infections were found in their bubbles.

Anyone with links to the schools is being asked to get a coronavirus PCR test rather than a rapid-turnaround lateral flow test.

This is because PCR tests are sent for genotyping – which will help identify which variant of Covid is spreading across the West Midlands town.

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Extra coronavirus testing sites are also being arranged.

But it is feared that the mutant strain could have already spread into the community.

This emerged after staff and customers who visited The Black Lion in Cheddleton and The Three Horseshoes Country Inn and Spa in Blackshaw Moor between May 22 and 23 are also being told to get swabbed.

Fears about the Indian variant spreading across the UK have been rumbling for weeks.

It has killed tens of thousands in India and is more transmissible than the original strain of Covid and its Kent variant counterpart.

This has led to increasing pressure on Boris Johnson to look into delaying lifting all social distancing measures on June 21 – a move which would outrage the libertarian side of his party.

He has so far resisted, even after the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Prof Sir Mark Walport warned about the dangers of not trying to control the Covid variant’s spread.

He told the Guardian it was “not impossible” that the country was in the foothills of a new wave.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also paused the loosening of restrictions for millions of Scots due to rising case rates earlier today.

But, so far at least, Number 10 has stood firm.

A spokesman said: “The prime minister has said on a number of occasions that we haven’t seen anything in the data but we will continue to look at the data, we will continue to look at the latest scientific evidence as we move through June towards 21 June.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

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