South Essex has seen a the number of cases of the Indian Covid variant more than double in the past week, new figures show.

More than 50 cases had been recorded in the region as of Wednesday (June 9).

The most cases have been found in Basildon which now has an overall total of 22 – up from 13 this time last week.

In Southend, there has now been 14 cases of the variant, at least 10 more than seven days ago.

Castle Point is now also registering the variant, with six people testing positive for it in the past week.

The number of cases in Thurrock has also risen by at least 12 in the past week – now standing at 16.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Covid-19 mutation that originated in India now makes up 91% of new cases in the UK, with evidence suggesting it may be more dangerous than the Alpha – formerly known as the Kent – variation.

Public Health England said on Friday (June 11) that 42,323 cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in the UK, up from 29,892 a week ago.

The increase in confirmed cases has been driven partly by a reduction in test turnaround times and a faster process for identifying cases of the variant, PHE said.

Read more:

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, it added, with cases doubling every 4.5 days in certain areas.

Different PHE figures show that 42 people across England had died with the Delta variant as of June 7.

Of them, 23 were unvaccinated, seven had received their first dose more than 21 days prior and 12 died more than two weeks after receiving their second jab.

The figures also show that two thirds of the 1,234 people who attended A&E in England between February 1 and June 7 and who were confirmed as having the Delta variant of coronavirus were unvaccinated.

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.”