THESE maps show the areas that the new mutant coronavirus strain is strongest.
Official data released by Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that cases of the new variant are highest in East London and Kent.
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The map above shows how cases of the new variant are spreading from the south of England [/caption]
The new strain is ripping through the UK and experts have revealed where it is strongest[/caption]
Last week London and Kent were forced into Tier 3 before the official tiers review.
Then at the weekend these areas were dealt an additional blow as they were pushed into Tier 4 – which means no mixing at Christmas and that all non-essential shops and hospitality must close – as well as gyms.
The maps show that the areas in red and brown have the highest number of cases.
The data is taken from September 2 and December 13.
The maps show cases with S gene target failure which is a sign of the mutation which has been named VUI 2020/01, with VUI standing for Variant Under Investigation.
This map shows the number of confirmed cases of the new mutation [/caption]
The mutant strain‘s origins are still being probed by PHE laboratories at Porton Down, Wiltshire.
With no concrete evidence so far explaining how and where it comes from, it can only be assumed to have emerged in England — because that was where most of the known cases were originally reported.
Scientists believe it mutated within a Covid patient’s body.
The first map shows how the virus is spreading from the South, while the second shows where cases of the mutant strain have been detected.
Evidence shows that the new variant is partly to blame for an increase in case numbers over the last three weeks.
The data has been produced by PHE in conjunction with Imperial College London, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Birmingham and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
People with the new mutation are reflected with the orange bars on the graphs above, each graph shows each region of England[/caption]
The report states that the experts monitored patterns where genes are found in PCR tests.
From here they said they can find where the new variant is increasing – this they say is because the new variant has genetic changes in the S gene.
The report states: “Evidence suggests that the new variant is comprising
an increasing proportion of positives over the last 3 weeks.
“This analysis shows that the new variant is now dominant in London and the East of England. It is also spreading to the South East and South West.”
They also stated that there was no evidence that suggests that different age groups are more effected by the new variant.
PHE recommended that further investigation needs to be done.
It added that the Department of Health and Social Care “should consider the need for enhanced control measures to limit the spread of this variant pending the availability of additional information.”
It comes as experts today warned that the new mutant strain could already be spreading across Europe.
British scientists have analysed more samples from Wales in the past week than France has done during the whole pandemic.
Researchers study the genome of around one in ten lab-confirmed cases in the UK, compared with just 1 in 100 in Europe.
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It means the UK is far better placed to spot potentially lethal changes to the bug and track its movements across the country.
The new variant was first spotted from a sample in Kent in September but experts say it remains possible it originated abroad.
It comes as Spain today banned British travellers from travelling to the country.
Spain had wanted to wait for a unanimous decision from the EU but no agreement was reached in Brussels last night, prompting Spanish authorities to act alone.