Four new cases of Covid Indian variant found in Suffolk

Covid-19 rapid testing centres targeting people who unwittingly have the virus are to open in Haverhill and Lowestoft

Residents in the Needham Market area are encouraged to get tested after three cases of the Indian variant were detected. - Credit: Suffolk Resilience Forum

Four new cases of the Covid variant first identified in India have been recorded in Suffolk - with people in Needham Market urged to get tested.

Three cases of the Indian variant – named the B.1.617.2 – have been found in Needham Market, and one in the Newmarket area.

The one historic case that had previously been recorded in Suffolk was identified in Mildenhall, bringing the total to five known cases in the county. 

Needham Market and the surrounding area is being targeted for testing, following Public Health Suffolk responding to a recent Covid-19 outbreak.

Needham Market High Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Needham Market, where three cases of the Covid Indian variant have been found. - Credit: Gregg Brown

It follows a number of cases being detected at Wattisham Flying Station.

A British Army spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have had a number of personnel based at Wattisham Flying Station test positive for coronavirus. In accordance with Government guidelines they are self-isolating and contact tracing procedures have been followed.

"All military activity is guided by public health protocols on social distancing, hygiene and the use of PPE.”

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Residents in the Needham Market area who are not showing any Covid-19 symptoms are being encouraged to take a PCR test to help monitor any potential spread of the disease and help protect each other.

Stuart Keeble, director of Public Health Suffolk, said: “We are taking this swift action, as a very small number of cases of this variant of concern have been found in the Needham Market area.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk urged people to follow the rules. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of Public Health Suffolk, said they are taking "swift action" following a small number of cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant in Needham Market. - Credit: Archant

"There is no need for people to be worried, but we do need to act straight away and prevent the infection spreading further into the community.

“By getting your test, you will be helping us  to understand more about potential spread of this variant of the virus, and limit any potential spread to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Mr Keeble added: “I'd like to thank the staff at Wattisham Flying Station for their incredibly diligent work to clamp down on their cases so quickly, and to those personnel and their families who were asked to self-isolate, for doing so.”

There have been 16 coronavirus cases in Needham Market and the surrounding area in the last two weeks, with 71 cases in the whole of Suffolk. This is at a rate of 143.6 cases per 100,000 population, which is double the case rate of any other Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) in Suffolk.

Across Suffolk, this figure is 13.8 per 100,000, and 16.5 per 100,000 for the East of England.

The single case of the Indian variant in Newmarket is being treated as a solitary case, but Public Health Suffolk will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Testing will take place at the Mid Suffolk District Council building car park in the town's high street. - Credit: Archant

For anyone who is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, they should get their PCR test in the usual way at local testing centres or by ordering a home testing kit (details here).

A mobile testing unit will be set up in Needham Market from 9am on Saturday May 22 at Mid Suffolk District Council building car park at 131 High Street, Needham Market, IP6 8DL (access via Hurstlea Road).

Opening hours will be 9am to 6pm until Saturday May, 29.

Appointments must be booked in advance through the website or by calling 119.