No10 scraps weekly Indian Covid variant update now that strain makes up almost ...

No10 scraps weekly Indian Covid variant update now that strain makes up almost ...
No10 scraps weekly Indian Covid variant update now that strain makes up almost ...

No10 has scrapped its weekly update on the Indian variant amid calls for the daily Covid stats to be ditched. 

Public Health England (PHE) said it would now offer fortnightly reports on the 'Delta' strain because the 'clinical risk assessment' had changed.

The vaccines have been shown to stop up to 96 per cent of patients from being hospitalised with the strain.

Confidence in the jabs has grown because Covid admissions and deaths have remained almost completely flat despite the variant infecting over 20,000 people a day.    

India's more infectious Covid variant is now behind more than 19 in 20 cases in England alone, after becoming the dominant strain in just two months.   

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The change is the first sign that officials are prepared to tweak the way the Covid statistics are presented and comes amid growing pressure for the daily stats to be dropped.

Even the Government's own scientists are calling for the change, with psychologist Professor Robert Dingwall saying it is 'well past time to panic about infection rates and to publish them obsessively'.

Cabinet ministers today shot down please from scientists and Tory MPs to stop publishing daily Covid case numbers today, insisting it would make it appear as if they have 'something to hide'. 

The Department of Health has been publishing the daily figures for the last 16 months as the nation has battled through the Covid pandemic.  

Public Health England said today they would only be publishing Covid briefings every fortnight, and no longer every week. Pictured above is the frontpage of the latest briefing

It comes despite Cabinet ministers shooting down calls for the Government to also stop publishing daily Covid cases. Pictured: Boris Johnson arrives at Nissan's plant in Sunderland

It comes despite Cabinet ministers shooting down calls for the Government to also stop publishing daily Covid cases. Pictured: Boris Johnson arrives at Nissan's plant in Sunderland

The Indian 'Delta' Covid variant (light green) now accounts for more than 96 per cent of Covid infections in England after displacing the previously dominant Kent 'Alpha' variant (purple). Also shown: The old virus strain B.1.177 (pink) and the Wuhan virus (dark green)

The Indian 'Delta' Covid variant (light green) now accounts for more than 96 per cent of Covid infections in England after displacing the previously dominant Kent 'Alpha' variant (purple). Also shown: The old virus strain B.1.177 (pink) and the Wuhan virus (dark green)

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In their technical note, PHE said: 'The next Variant Technical Briefing and Risk Assessment will be published on the morning of Friday July 9, and fortnightly thereafter.

'The return to a fortnightly publication rather than weekly is because the clinical risk assessment for Delta has become more stable in recent weeks as we have learned more about this variant.

'A weekly publication was previously necessary as our understanding and assessment of Delta developed rapidly.

'If further variants emerge that necessitate a change in the schedule, we will act upon this.'

They said weekly figures on the number of cases of the Indian variant and other mutant strains identified in the UK would still be published. 

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