Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, Greg Fell, has warned the public about the new COVID-19 variant that was first discovered in India as the city became the most infectious area for coronavirus in South Yorkshire this week.
The Indian variant has caused concern across the UK with many scientists claiming it’s more transmissible than other strains of coronavirus. Mr Fell believes it’s inevitable that more cases of the variant will hit Sheffield.
He said: “I’m sure that will come to us. It remains to be seen what level it will be and we remain ready that we’ll be able to respond quickly and appropriately. We’re watching out very, very carefully for that.
“It’s too early to say whether it’s more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants. For now we will keep broadly the same strategy.
“We just need to keep an eye on the fourth Government test which is variants of concern and changing the risk assessment.”
Sheffield currently has the 10th highest coronavirus rate in England although Mr Fell reckons the city can vaccinate its way out of the pandemic.
The latest figures show 285,000 people in Sheffield have had their first COVID-19 vaccine, whilst 141,000 have had both doses. The plan is for every adult to have had their first vaccination by 31 July.
Mr Fell added: “The key to successful continued progress is vaccination. If you are offered the vaccine, it’s really important that you take that offer up.
“All the indications are that the vaccine works against the Indian variant, thus it remains really important that you protect yourself and others to keep Sheffield open and to keep the freedoms that we’ve just got back this week.
“If we want the pandemic to end and life to return to normal, people will need to get a vaccine. It’s one of the key routes out of the pandemic. Stick to the programme and we’ll keep Sheffield open.”