You may have heard in the media this week the name ‘Delta’ used to refer to the B1.617.2 COVID-19 variant first identified in India.
This follows a move by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assign simple, easy to say and remember labels
for COVID-19 variants - based on letters of the Greek Alphabet (e.g. Alpha, Beta, Gamma).
WHO acknowledges that calling variants by the places where they are first detected is stigmatising and discriminatory.
Alpha is the new label for the B.117 variant, first identified in Kent.
The latest UK-wide data published yesterday shows that cases of the Delta variant in the UK have risen by 5,472 since last week to 12,431. This includes 39 cases in Swindon since the variant was identified, although the current risk to the wider community is low.
shows that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant. Over half of UK adults have been vaccinated with a second dose, giving them the strongest possible protection.
Appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups.
Once vaccinated, you are:
far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms
even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it
there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
More than half of people in their thirties have now received their first vaccination dose in just over a fortnight.
It’s clear how important the second dose is to secure the strongest possible protection against COVID-19 and its variants – and I urge everyone to book in their jab when offered.
Latest COVID-19 case rate data
As of today (4 June), the COVID-19 case rate in Swindon is 15 per 100k, down from 17 last Friday. The South West average is 10 per 100k and 34 per 100k for England.
From 25-31 May, there were 34 new COVID-19 cases in Swindon, down slightly from 37 the previous week.
A further 6,268 Swindon residents have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, bringing the total number of people who have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to 127,609. 79,310 residents have now had both doses of the vaccine.
Home testing kits are now available in selected Swindon libraries
You're now able to pick up COVID-19 home testing kits from Highworth Library, West Swindon Library and North Swindon Library during opening hours.
Getting tested regularly can help protect the ones you love from becoming infected. It’s important to continue to get tested even if you’ve had the coronavirus vaccine.
Find out all the different ways you can access testing here.
This Volunteers’ Week, we have recognised and thanked our army of 500+ volunteers who have been making a difference to our community this year.
From the telephone befrienders who regularly check-in with isolated residents, to the shoppers who make sure vulnerable residents have food in their cupboards. The Big Knitters who create blankets for the homeless to the prescription and food parcel delivery service. The forget-me-not bakers who make cakes for residents who wouldn't otherwise have one on their birthday to those who are helping at vaccine centres and the hundreds of other volunteers. From everyone in Swindon we want to say a massive thank you.
Following COVID-19 guidance remains as important as ever
Once you’ve had your coronavirus vaccine it may be tempting to let your guard down. However, it’s really important that we don’t become complacent and continue to wash hands frequently, wear a face covering in indoor settings, keep a safe distance from others and get tested regularly.
Although you may be vaccinated, there are still a number of people who aren’t. They need you to continue playing your part to protect them and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Remember, it’s not over until everyone reaches the finish line.
Portugal moved to amber list following first traffic light review
Portugal has moved to the amber list in the Government's first review of the traffic light list for international travel.
Seven countries, including Sri Lanka and Egypt, have been moved to the red list with all changes coming into effect at 4am on Tuesday 8 June.
The decision to move Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) to the amber list follows increased concern in the spread of variants of coronavirus, including a mutation of the Delta variant, and the risk that is posed when bringing these people back to the UK if they aren't required to quarantine.
Travel is still permitted to amber list countries but returning passengers must quarantine at home or in the place they're staying for 10 days, as well as taking COVID tests before and after returning to the UK.
More advice on international travel can be found here.