75% of York’s latest Covid cases are the new more infectious variant

Three quarters of new Covid cases in York are people with the new variant of the virus, public health leaders say.

They have urged people to follow lockdown advice because the new strain is more infectious and could be responsible for York’s rate rocketing during and after the festive season.

Fiona Phillips, assistant director of public health, said: “From November to early January, York went from having very few cases of the new variant to potentially having up to 75 per cent of cases being the new variant.

“What we know is that this new variant can be transmitted from one person to the other much more easily.

“In essence, the new variant is less forgiving around any lapses in following [government lockdown] advice.”

Sharon Stoltz, director of public health in York, said the new strain is about 70 per cent more transmissible.

She said news that more than a third of people aged 80 or older in England have been vaccinated if cause for hope – but said the city still needs to work hard to get York’s case rate down to protect vulnerable residents.