Cases of the Covid variant first detected in India have spiked by nearly 80% from last week, said Public Health England (PHE).
It is now believed to be the dominant variant in the UK, after overtaking the Kent strain, with a total of 12,431 confirmed cases.
PHE said the latest data suggests there could be an increased risk of hospitalisation from the B.1.617.2 Indian variant, recently renamed Delta by the World Health Organisation.
There were 278 people who tested positive for the strain attending hospital emergency departments this week – up from 201 last week.
A total of 94 patients stayed overnight – up from 43 admissions the week before.
The majority of people hospitalised had not received a vaccine.
Data shows that the variant is causing the majority of infections in 102 local authorities in England – nearly a third of the country.
Bolton is still the area most affect by the variant, with cases rising by 795 from last week to a total of 2,149.
Blackburn with Darwen is the second most impacted area, where cases of the variant have jumped by 368 week-on-week to a total of 724.
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