Bolton on brink again as Covid cases spiral above above 300 and hospital admissions rise

Bolton on brink again as Covid cases spiral above above 300 and hospital admissions rise
Increasing infection rates are being driven by Indian variant – which now appears to be spreading across Greater Manchester

Coronavirus infection rates in Bolton have now spiralled to more than 300 cases per 100,000, the latest Public Health England data shows.

Transmission numbers have more than doubled to 301.5 in the Greater Manchester town for a second week running, even while a Herculean effort to mass vaccinate thousands of residents has taken place.

The surge – which means rates are now 14 times the national average – has been put down to the so-called Indian variant gaining a toehold here.

But there are now also growing concerns that there is significant spread across all of Greater Manchester with all but three of the region’s 10 boroughs seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases over the last seven days.

Bury, Wigan and Trafford have all had especially worrying jumps with increases of 79 per cent, 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. Nearby Blackburn with Darwen is also fighting an ongoing spike.

Worryingly, too, the growing numbers are now beginning to translate into rising hospital admissions in Bolton itself.

Some 19 patients were being treated for Covid-19 at the Royal Bolton Hospital on Monday, according to health secretary Matt Hancock. Of those, five had been vaccinated once and one had been vaccinated twice, he said.

Referring to the Indian variant – officially a variant of concern – he said there had now been a total of 2,323 cases found across the country. It was present., he added, in more than 80 different local authority areas.

The developments will further raise the prospect of local restrictions being implemented just days after rules were eased across England on Monday.

Scientists have already told prime minister Boris Johnson that he should not have gone ahead with the relaxation while so much uncertainty remained over both the transmission and mortality rates of the new variant.

However, the PM is facing warnings from Tory MPs including Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, not to delay the final step of lockdown lifting next month or lose support.

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