Nearly 30,000 more cases of the Indian coronavirus variant have been confirmed in the UK in the last week, new data shows.
Public Health England (PHE) said on Friday that 42,323 cases of the Delta variant that originated in India have been confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from last week.
Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days, it added.
PHE said that the increase in confirmed cases from 12,341 last week has been driven partly by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant.
It added that more than 90% of new Covid-19 cases are now the Delta variant, with new research suggesting it is associated with an approximately 60% increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha or Kent strain.
In England, 39,061 cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus have been confirmed, along with 3,035 in Scotland, 184 in Wales and 43 in Northern Ireland.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “With numbers of Delta variant cases on the rise across the country, vaccination is our best defence.
“If you are eligible, we urge you to come forward and be vaccinated. Remember that two doses provide significantly more protection than a single dose.
“However, while vaccination reduces the risk of severe disease, it does not eliminate it.
“With data showing that Delta is significantly more transmissible than Alpha, it is just as important as ever to follow public health advice, which has not changed.
“Get vaccinated, work from home where you can and remember ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times. These measures work, and they save lives.”