Life and death warning for north-west Wales as mutant strain revealed to be behind spike – North Wales Live

The newer mutant strain of Covid-19 is largely behind a sharp rise in the number of cases in north west Wales, council bosses have warned.

With 255 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Gwynedd between January 8 and 14, this represents a substantial jump from the 164 recorded over the seven previous days (January 1-7).

But in line with patterns already seen in the north east, they say that the majority of these cases are down to the new and more transmissible strain of the virus.

This mutant strain was first identified in December and thought to be 70% more transmissible, with children far more likely to catch and spread than was the case with the previous wave.

The warning follows a separate appeal by Anglesey Council on children to avoid mixing with other children outside their household or support bubble, following a rise in positive cases amongst youngsters on the island – also blamed on the newer strain.

Dafydd Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Head of Environment and Chair of the Gwynedd Prevention and Surveillance Group, said “Cases in nearby parts of Wales are at an all-time high, with hospital services close to breaking point. We must all act now to prevent Gwynedd communities from being next in line – I’m afraid that this is a matter of life and death.

Public Health Wales has urged the public to stick to Covid-19 rules

Public Health Wales has urged the public to stick to Covid-19 rules
(Image: Daily Post Wales)

“The new strain of the virus is far more prevalent in North Wales and testing data suggests it accounts for up to 70% of new cases.

“This variant is far easier to spread to those that we are in close contact with, and we are seeing whole households being infected because it transmits so easily. Remember that some people do have COVID-19 but do not show symptoms.”

Last week the Welsh Government confirmed that the strain had taken a “firm foothold in north Wales”, having already become the the leading cause of infections in the south.

“We are very concerned there is a risk the NHS could become overwhelmed because so many people are falling ill,” they said in a statement.

“We all need to stay at home again and protect our NHS.”

While Anglesey’s overall number of cases fell slightly compared to the previous week, 32 children tested positive between January 1-17 – more than double the number recorded over the same period in December.

Also blamed on the new variant of the virus, this led council bosses to stress how vital it was that youngsters do not mix outside their home or bubble.

Mr Williams, the chair of Gwynedd’s Prevention and Surveillance Group, concluded, “We can all be proud of the way that most people in Gwynedd have followed the rules throughout the pandemic. By doing so, they have helped to ensure that most people in this area have stayed healthy.

“We have now started the work of vaccinating local people, and this process is gathering pace. Given the sacrifices that have been made, it would be tragic if we lost control of the situation at this stage when there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Statistics show that people believe that they are most likely to catch Coronavirus from a stranger. In fact, we are far more likely to catch the virus by bending or breaking the rules with people we know, such as meeting-up with friends or family from outside our households.

“The best way we can break the chain of death and illness is to act as if we and those around us have the virus – stay at home, keep at least 2 metres apart at all times if you have to leave the house, wash or sanitise your hands regularly, and wear a good quality face covering. It is also important to note that those who have had the COVID-19 vaccination still need to take these steps.

“If we all play our part now to protect our NHS, we can then rely on it to be there for us if and when we need it.”

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