Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
28 May 2021updated 28 Aug 2021 9:40pm

How the Indian Covid variant has surged in England

The variant now accounts for up to 75 per cent of new coronavirus cases.

By Nicu Calcea

A new strain of Covid-19first identified in Indiais rapidly spreading across England, with the variant accounting for up to 75 per cent of new cases, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said. 

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that the number of confirmed cases of the new strain in the UK nearly doubled in the week to 19 May – from 3,424 to 6,959. While the overall number of Covid-19 cases has remained generally stable as the new variant replaces the older B.1.1.7 strain, some areas, such as Bolton and Blackburn, have seen their case numbers surge in recent weeks. 


Despite PHE placing the variant under investigation on 1 April, it was not until 23 April that the UK government added India to its “red list” of countries with restricted travel. The emergence of the new strain has raised concerns over England’s plan to end all pandemic restrictions on 21 June, with Boris Johnson saying he doesn’t “see anything currently in the data to suggest we have to deviate from the roadmap, but we may need to wait. 

study by PHE found that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are still highly effective” against the new variant, though both offer reduced protection after only one jab. 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Content from our partners
The cost-of-living crisis is hitting small businesses – Liz Truss must act
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs