THE DELTA variant of Covid-19 likely to become the dominant strain in Wiltshire according to the county’s public health team.

As Boris Johnson postponed England’s move to step four of the roadmap, Wiltshire Council has urged people to continue to stick to the current Covid guidance.

The Prime Minister has announced that the June 21 date to unlock lockdown has been pushed back over concerns around the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus.

The number of recorded cases of the delta variant is on the rise in Wiltshire and as of June 9, 41 cases of the coronavirus variant have been recorded in the county. This is an increase of 26 cases from the previous week’s figures which were 15, according to Public Health England.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the new mutation makes up around 91 per cent of new cases in the UK.

Rachel Kent, in a public health consultation for Wiltshire said: “We don’t know what strain every single case is.

“What we do know is if it is not the dominant strain this week within a week or two it [delta variant] will be the dominant strain.

“We know that nationally it is the dominant strain.”

It should be noted that not every positive Covid-19 test is checked for which particular strain the person has contracted.

Ms Kent said that the public health team had tried to contain the spread of the virus – alongside Public Health England – but said once it was seen in the community it was much more difficult to curb.

“We should be scared – it is more transmissible but the measures are still in place,” she added.

“We all have to measure our own risks but the measures are the same no matter which variant we’re talking about.”

In the last seven days as of June 14, there had been 141 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in Wiltshire.

This means that the seven-day infection rate for the county is at 28.2 per 100,000 people – far below the England average of 67.1. This was a rise from the previous seven days when the same figure was 11.4.

Wiltshire Council has also urged residents to keep to the guidelines and continue with measures such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds, social distancing and wearing masks when required.

Cabinet member for public health, Simon Jacobs said:“We know this may not be the news people were hoping to receive, but the decision to proceed to the final step of the roadmap was always going to be informed by data rather than dates, and that’s why there is a delay to the change in restrictions.

“Unfortunately, the variants of coronavirus that have been emerging, particularly the Delta variant (first identified in India), have seen an increase in cases across the country, particularly during the last few weeks.

“The best way to stop the spread has been to temporarily halt the current plans for step four of the government’s roadmap.”

In terms of the current rules, with June 21 postponed, all the current Covid guidance remains relatively the same.

This means the current limits on seeing family and friends (the rule of six or two households indoors) remain with gatherings of 30 or more people still illegal.

Businesses allowed to open in step three will be allowed to remain open – this includes indoor hospitality – but must continue to have Covid-secure measures in place.

Funeral venues are allowed to decide how many mourners they can accommodate, adhering to social distancing rules.

The 30-person limit on wakes will be lifted in England from June 21 and instead capacity will be determined by the maximum number of people a venue can accommodate within Covid-19 secure rules.

Weddings can also go ahead with more than 30 people from June 21 providing social distancing is observed.