Health chief calms fears over Covid-19 variant, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
There is no evidence that a more infectious strain of coronavirus found in Tottenham Hale has spread, according to Haringey Council’s public health chief.
Dr Will Maimaris, Haringey’s director of public health, said initial findings indicated “no evidence” the South African variant of Covid-19 was spreading through local community contact, but added that surveillance is ongoing.
Surge testing was rolled out after the variant, which can spread more easily than the original virus, was identified in the N17 postcode area in February.
Vaccines work against the South African variant, but trials have shown some jabs are less effective than they are at combating the original Covid-19 strain.
Dr Maimaris said: “We are really grateful to all residents in Tottenham Hale who completed a Covid-19 test even though they did not have symptoms to help us understand whether there was any spread of the South African variant of Covid-19.
“Thousands of local residents returned their tests, which enabled us to identify that overall cases of Covid were low in the community, and initial findings indicate no evidence that the South African variant was spreading through local community contact, however surveillance continues.
“Haringey will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to deploy appropriate public health interventions when variants of concern are found including testing, increased genomic sequencing, and other measures to monitor and help suppress the spread of new variants.”
The latest data shows Haringey’s seven-day coronavirus infection rate remained stable at 29 new cases of the virus per 100,000 people in the seven days to 10th March. It is the seventh-lowest rate in the capital. There were 26 parts of the borough with fewer than three cases of Covid-19, according to a government map of middle layer super-output areas.