A new mutant strain of coronavirus has been in the West Midlands for weeks, according to analysis of data.
The Covid-19 mutation has led to a turbulent week – and a somewhat dampened festive season – in the UK.
Tougher coronavirus restrictions will be needed across the country with cases of the mutant coronavirus strain appearing “everywhere”, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said.
Around one in 10 recent coronavirus cases in the West Midlands have been caused by the new strain of the virus.
The capital city, London, which entered tier four measures this weekend, has 62 per cent of its cases caused by the new strain, figures show.
The south east – which is also in tier four – has a percentage of around 40.
On December 14, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs a new strain of coronavirus has been identified in southern England, with the number of cases involving the new variant “increasing rapidly”.
Tougher restrictions were then imposed on London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire following “very sharp, exponential rises” in cases.
Days later, Mr Hancock warned that tough new Covid controls could be in place for months, as he warned the mutant new strain of the virus was running “out of control”.
The East of England has a percentage of 59, with South West at 27 per cent, ahead of the North West at 17 per cent.
The East Midlands is above the West Midlands at 16 per cent, with North East at 15 per cent, making West Midlands second lowest to Yorkshire and Humber, at just five.
The mutated coronavirus strain could more easily infect children, scientists have said.
Experts say that data indicates it may be able to better spread among youngsters than other strains, but that analysis is still ongoing.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a scientist on the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats advisory group (NervTag), said that during the second lockdown in England there was an age shift in the distribution of the virus.
London : 62 per cent (up from 28 per cent)
East of England : 59 per cent (up from 23 per cent)
South East : 43 per cent (up from 28 per cent)
South West : 27 per cent (up from 13 per cent)
North West : 17 per cent (up from five per cent)
East Midlands : 16 per cent (up from seven per cent)
North East : 15 per cent (up from seven per cent)
West Midlands : 11 per cent (up from seven per cent)
Yorkshire and the Humber : five per cent (down from eight per cent)