At least 10 cases of the 'India Variant' of Covid-19 have been detected in Croydon according to new figures released by Public Health England (PHE).

That was the highest number of any south London borough, and furthered concerns that the highly infectious variant (official name VOC-21APR-02 or B.1.617.2) is becoming dominant.

The data was compiled by sampling positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed between May 2-May 8.

It screened positive Covid cases for something called the 'S' gene that previous analysis has found to be present in 93 per cent of 400 previously confirmed national cases of the B.1.617.2 Indian variant but not in other variants like the 'Kent' variant. 

In Croydon, 13 positive Covid-19 cases were sampled in the data, and 10 of those cases reported the 'S' gene.

That equated to some 76.9 per cent of the total, suggesting a higher prevalence of the variant in Croydon than other strains of the virus.

In neighbouring Sutton, for example, there were zero cases of the S gene found in positive Covid cases sampled there over the period.

Hilling (23) and Hounslow (21) reported the most cases of the S-gene that suggests the Indian variant of any London boroughs.

Health experts and government representatives have warned that the rapid increase in the number of cases of the new variant that is highly transmissible could jeopardize the UK's route out of restrictive lockdown measures.

That's because if easing measures continue, increasing numbers of cases could spread more quickly, thus raising the possibility that more people could become seriously ill with the variant of the Covid-19 virus.

"Lots of people have not yet had the vaccine and a spike in cases, particularly of the variant of concern first identified in India which appears to be more transmissible, could easily set us back," Director of PHE London Professor Kevin Fenton said.

Nonetheless, several key lockdown measures were eased on Monday, May 17, amid continuing positive news concerning the NHS vaccination programme.

As the Croydon Guardian reported previously, over one million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in South London since December last year.

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