Indian variant in Ealing and Hounslow

The Indian variant of Covid has been detected in both London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow.

Mayor Sadiq Khan identified five hotspots in London and said he wanted the Government to be ‘nimble’ in making tests available to people of all ages in those areas. The boroughs named were Hillingdon, Hackney, Ealing, Croydon and Bromley.

The Chiswick Calendar has learned that the Indian variant is also present in Hounslow. LB Hounslow is also the London borough in which Covid cases are rising the fastest.

Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health in Hounslow, has confirmed to The Chiswick Calendar that there are cases of the Indian variant in Hounslow. She said:

“Because there is a lag in identifying cases due to the genotyping step, the data we have is out of date in terms of numbers, so there will be more variant cases circulating than we are aware of.

“Our contact tracing work which is all being done at Borough level is a means through which we can check key information about cases and understand links with international travellers and other cases”.

LB Ealing also confirmed that they had identified cases of the Indian variant.

“Public Health England (PHE) have identified that small clusters have been identified across London of a variant of concern first identified in India.

“We are working closely with PHE and we are following their advice by carrying out targeted testing in settings where cases have been identified. PCR tests in the borough that come back positive will be sequenced by the national Test and Trace programme to try and track the variant and better understand it”.

Sadiq Khan – We should be giving vaccinations to young people in hot spot areas

On Monday London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the Government to be “nimble” and offer vaccinations to all ages in “London hotspots” where the Indian variant of Covid is apparent. Five boroughs were mentioned where the Indian vaccine is being investigated: Hillingdon, Hackney, Ealing, Croydon and Bromley.

“In those parts of the country where there are pockets of people who have this Indian variant, I think we should be nimble and we should be giving the vaccine to younger people in those areas” he said.

“Why? Because the early evidence is that if you receive the vaccine you are less likely to carch this variant, the spread is less serious but also the consequences if you catch it are less serious as well. So I think we should be nimble and I’ve asked both Matt Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi, the various ministers, on Friday, to give us the flexibility to give younger people the vaccine in those parts of London where they’re concerned about this strain.

“In those pockets where we know there’s an issue let’s use the vaccine sensibly, so in London the good news is we’re now testing everybody who’s tested positive, the gene sequence, to see whether they’ve got this particular Indian variant. So we know in which parts of our city there’s a concern and so what we should be doing in those particular boroughs is having a hyper local approach and encouraging those who are younger, who have to wait a few weeks, to have the vaccine now, to avoid the strain spreading”.

Advice from Kelly O’Neill

Covid cases are beginning to creep up again. The weekly rate of coronavirus cases is rising in just under half of London’s boroughs. Hounslow has experienced the highest rise in cases, up 35.2 per cent from 87 to 119 in the week leading up to 8 May.

Hounslow’s Director of Public Health says:

“As we see rates of infection start to increase the most important actions we are asking people is, let’s not lose control of this in our Borough.

“The same measures are protective regardless of which variant it is – Hands, Face, Space and fresh air, get tested twice a week, and that will help us identify asymptomatic infection.

“If you are symptomatic, get tested straight away and isolate; if you test positive, you must isolate, help is available from the Council, please look on the council website. The single most important action you can take to protect yourself, and those around you is to get vaccinated – and I will happily have a conversation with anyone who needs information to help take that step.

If you want to take her up on that offer, email The Chiswick Calendar at info@thechiswickcalendar.co.uk and we will pass your email on.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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