A SMALL number of cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 have been seen in Swindon, the town’s health boss has said.   

Director of public health Steve Maddern confirmed yesterday a few cases of the variant were found around March/April - before India was put on the Government’s red list for travel. 

He said: “All public health actions relating to those cases have been undertaken and both myself and Public Health England feel satisfied that what has needed to be done in regard to preventing onwards spread had been done. We have not seen subsequent cases as a result.”  

Data from Public Health England published on Thursday shows a steep rise in cases associated with B1617.2 across the UK, which has been designated as a “variant of concern”, from 520 last week to 1,313.

But Mr Maddern said the risk for the community is currently low in Swindon. "We’re closely monitoring all Covid cases and continuing our surveillance to make sure that if we are aware of any variants of concern that they are managed in a quick response alongside our colleague at PHE,” Mr Maddern said.   

People returning from countries on the red list will be staying at Jury’s Inn on Fleming Way.  

READ MORE: Swindon hotel to be used to quarantine travellers from India, Brazil and South Africa

"To reduce the risk, people now returning from red list countries, including India, will now quarantine for ten days in government-managed quarantine services,” Mr Maddern said. 

"And I think from our point of view, although we're closely monitoring and surveilling all our cases at the moment, with the case rate in Swindon continuing to drop and being incredibly low at this moment in time, we feel very confident that we don't have any variant issues of concern at this moment in time and there's no evidence of broader community spread." 

READ MORE: Covid-19 rate in Swindon drops to lowest level in months ahead of lockdown easing

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Friday, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said the variant was more transmissible than the Kent variant of concern, which has now spread to become a dominant variant globally.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a range of measures were being taken, including accelerating second doses of vaccines for people over 50 and the clinically vulnerable to eight weeks after the first dose, down from 12.