A “handful” of Indian variant cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Lincolnshire, but local health bosses remain unconcerned at this time.
Professor Derek Ward, Lincolnshire County Council’s director for public health, said it was “very small numbers” and he was “comfortable” the cases had mainly centred around people who had returned from foreign travel or who were connected with people who had.
The Indian variant of concern, named B.1617.2, is one of three different COVID strains being investigated by Public Health England.
In some of the worst-affected areas calls are being made to bring forward second vaccine doses, surge testing and local restrictions to tackle the spread.
It is thought to be more transmissable, but not currently evidenced to be more severe or less affected by the vaccine.
“It’s probably just a matter of time before we do see some transmission in the East Midlands but ultimately I’m not overly concerned at this point, because if it does get hold, from what we know about at the moment, it’s only likely to outcompete the Kent variant,” said Professor Ward.
He related it, and other variants, to the 200 different viruses that cause the common cold.
“For the person who catches a cold they’re not really bothered about which it is because the symptoms are the same.
“They know it’s going to last between a week or two and then they’re going to clear it.
“With this variant, it looks like the vaccines are working perfectly well, it looks like you’ll get the same sorts of disease, no worse no better. It’s just a bit more transmissible.”