Swindon’s health boss believes the new Covid-19 variant could explain soaring case numbers in the town.  

In the past seven days, Swindon has seen 1,214 new cases of the virus with the borough’s current seven-day rolling case rate at 546.4 per 100,000 way higher than the south west figure of 382.5.  

Swindon Borough Council’s director of public health Steve Maddern said: “Although we’ve got no confirmed evidence that we have that new variant in Swindon, I think it seems to be quite clear that must be the case, not just for Swindon but across Britain at this moment in time.  

“We know that we are in a very fast-moving situation so the concern was very much focused on the East, but I would very much say that my professional view would be that we are seeing that variant locally.  

“But I think that has to be one of the explanations that we are seeing about increase in case rate.” 

Over the last week, there have also been another eight deaths across the borough, including some at the Great Western Hospital, bringing the total to 143 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test. 

The number of patients requiring support in intensive care also leads to the risk of a lack of beds for patients requiring care for other illnesses and injuries outside of Covid-19.