Cases of the Covid-19 Indian variant are continuing to rise across south east London as the strain now dominates virus cases nationwide.

Two boroughs have now peaked above 200 cases, and with the numbers of the so-called Delta variant shooting up in some areas of the country, the rise is predominantly behind today's decision to delay the planned June 21 unlocking.

In the latest official update from Government, it was reported that cases of the Indian variant are continuing to rise as it emerges that 90% of new Covid-19 cases in the UK are now this particular variant.

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New rapid novel genotyping tests are now being used to the detect the strain VOC-21APR-02, speeding up the the amount of data available on the variant which will no doubt be used by the Government in deciding on easing lockdown.

And cases have risen nationally from 29,892 to 42,323.

But local figures have also been released, and show a slow and steady rise for the variant.

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Two south east London boroughs have now both recorded over 200 cases of the Indian variant since it was identified.

One of these boroughs is Bromley, where 228 cases of the variant have been identified.

In the most recent of our updates on Covid-19 infection rates, published on June 8, Bromley recorded a rate of 44.8, up from 30.7, and had identified 149 new cases of coronavirus (which includes all variants) in the last week.

Greenwich also has a high number of variant cases, with a total of 208 found so far.

The borough currently has an infection rate of 44.5 after 128 new cases were recorded last week.

Southwark reported 186 variant cases after recording a Covid-19 rate of 58.3 last week, more than doubling.

The stats show Lewisham has recorded 132 cases of the mutant strain in total.

Around 118 wider virus cases were identified in the last week, giving Lewisham an infection rate of 38.6.

Bexley currently has the lowest number of Indian variant cases in south east London with 88.

The borough also has the lowest infection rate, 21.7, although still rising, with 54 new virus cases.

This figures will still give local health leaders cause for concern, but whilst they are rising they are still far from the numbers seen in areas such as Bolton (3896).

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Nearby, Croydon has seen a large number of variant cases reported, and currently stands at 460.

Dartford has identified just 74.

Action is being taken, and in the Government's most recent update, from June 11, they added that that the new genotyping data was being used to inform public health responses locally.

Most recently, the data allowed for the early identification of rising cases in Greater Manchester, triggering control measures, whilst surge testing is currently underway on the other side of south London in Kingston upon Thames.

New research from Public Health England suggests that the Delta variant is associated with an approximately 60% increased risk of household transmission compared to the Alpha variant.

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across the regions, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days.

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The update said that with this variant now accounting for the overwhelming majority of new cases in the UK, it is encouraging to see that the increase in cases is not yet accompanied by a similarly large increase in hospitalisations.

PHE will continue to monitor closely over the next few weeks.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "With numbers of Delta variant cases on the rise across the country, vaccination is our best defence.

"If you are eligible, we urge you to come forward and be vaccinated. Remember that 2 doses provide significantly more protection than a single dose.

"However, while vaccination reduces the risk of severe disease, it does not eliminate it.

"With data showing that Delta is significantly more transmissible than Alpha, it is just as important as ever to follow public health advice, which has not changed. Get vaccinated, work from home where you can and remember ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times. These measures work, and they save lives."