THERE are 39 confirmed cases of the Delta variant - formerly known as the Indian variant - of coronavirus in Swindon.

Across the UK, the number of new cases has risen by 5,472 since last week to 13,760.

Public Health England experts now believe that the Delta variant has overtaken the Alpha (formerly known as Kent) variant to become the dominant Covid-19 variant in the UK.

Early evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of hospitalisation for Delta compared to Alpha CASES, although more data is needed for PHE to have more confidence in that finding.

This week, 278 people with the Delta variant attended A&E, resulting in 94 people being admitted to hospital overnight. Last week, 201 people attended A&E, with 43 admissions. Once again, the majority of these had not been vaccinated.

The most affected areas remain Bolton, where cases have risen by 795 to 2149, and Blackburn with Darwen which has seen 368 new cases, bringing it to 724 in total. 

UK Health Security Agency chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: "With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we all continue to exercise as much caution as possible.

"The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of COVID-19 as a whole. Work from home where you can, and practice ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.

"If you are eligible and have not already done so, please come forward to be vaccinated and make sure you get your second jab. It will save lives."

PHE has published a breakdown of outbreaks and clusters of variants in schools and other settings.

Outbreaks and clusters in primary and secondary schools are at low levels but there has been a slight increase over recent weeks, in line with higher levels of the Delta variant circulating in the community.

The latest PHE data suggest that there have been 97 confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks in primary and secondary schools that have had at least one variant case linked to them over the most recent four-week period. This represents around one in 250 schools.

A Public Health England spokesman said: "PHE experts continue to urge everybody to remain cautious as the country approaches the next stage of the roadmap. Variant cases are on the increase in several areas and it is absolutely crucial that everyone plays their part in preventing their spread."