Only three fully vaccinated people hospitalised out of 12,000 infected with Indian COVID variant

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
As of 3 June, just three fully vaccinated people of more than 12,000 people infected with the Indian COVID variant had been hospitalised. (PA)
As of 3 June, just three fully vaccinated people of more than 12,000 people infected with the Indian COVID variant had been hospitalised. (PA)

Just three fully vaccinated people have been admitted to hospital after being infected with the Indian coronavirus variant.

Hospital admissions are one of the government's four "key tests" when considering the easing of restrictions, so it's an encouraging sign England’s lockdown could be fully lifted as planned on 21 June.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that of the 12,383 UK cases of the Indian variant (which has been renamed the "Delta" variant by the World Health Organization) up to 3 June, 126 people were admitted to hospital.

Of those, 83 had not received a vaccine and 28 had been given one dose.

Only three of the 12,000 - 0.02% - had received both of their vaccine doses.

Watch: 'Encouraging' only three Indian variant hospital admissions have been fully jabbed, minister says

As of Sunday, 27,921,294 – or 53% – of UK adults had received both doses with Hancock telling MPs: “The jabs are working."

“We have to keep coming forward to get them and that includes, vitally, that second jab which we know gives better protection against the Delta variant.”

The more transmissible Indian variant has been causing infections to increase, with the health secretary saying on Sunday it could be 40% more transmissible than the so-called beta variant which was first identified in Kent.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released on Tuesday showed there were 95 COVID-19 deaths in England and Wales in the week up to 28 May: the lowest number since the start of September last year.

Reports have suggested the final step planned for 21 June could be delayed by two weeks, with The Times saying ministers were given a “downbeat” briefing on the latest data on Monday by England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

On Tuesday, however, one cabinet minister insisted the “data is encouraging” when the hospital admission figures were put to him.

Environment secretary George Eustice, appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, added: “There is an increase, yes, in infection rates. That’s to be expected in some ways, people are out moving around again.”

Appearing on LBC, Eustice added the government will continue monitoring the data before Boris Johnson announces a final decision on Monday.

Senior Tory backbencher Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary who now chairs the health and social care committee, also suggested it will be 5 July at the latest when lockdown ends.

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He told Times Radio he is “feeling quite optimistic that we are going to see the restrictions lifted”.

Hunt said that “being double-jabbed works against this new variant, so if ‘freedom day’ ends up being put back a couple of weeks so we can get more people double-jabbed, I think it will only be a temporary setback.

“I think we are on the way to getting back to normal.”

Watch: Tuesday's daily politics briefing