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6 cases of Lambda Covid variant first found in Peru confirmed in England

6 cases of Lambda Covid variant first found in Peru confirmed in England
Public Health England (PHE) has recorded six cases of the new Lambda variant of Covid-19, widespread in South America. The UK has seen a recent surge in Covid cases as a result of the more easily transmitted Delta variant.

The six Lambda cases announced on Friday are all linked to international travel, PHE said, four of which were detected in London, another in the southwest of England, and one in the West Midlands. 

The announcement was made in PHE’s update to its infectious diseases information on Friday, where it also noted that the Lambda variant was registered as a ‘Variant Under Investigation’ on June 23 by the UK government.

At present, PHE said, there is no evidence to suggest that the variant has the capability of causing more serious illness or diminishing the efficacy of Covid vaccines.

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First detected in Peru and now found in over 25 countries, Lambda (also referred to as C.37) has spread like wildfire through Latin America. According to the Peruvian government, the variant makes up over 80% of Covid infections. The strain also runs rampant through Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

Peruvian virologist, Pablo Tsukayama, expressed concern to German news outlet DW at how quickly the Lambda strain has spread through the country.  

“We had 200 Lambda infections in December...by the end of March, it made up half of all samples taken in Lima. Now, three months later, we are looking at more than 80% of all infections nationwide,” Tsukayama said. “Lambda has become the dominant variant in Peru in a very short period of time."

News of the Lambda strain’s arrival in the UK has emerged as the country continues to battle the Delta variant, which the government said now accounts for approximately 95% of all coronavirus infections. British health officials on Friday said that Delta cases have increased 46% from the previous week.

At present, the daily average of Covid cases in the UK is just under 12,000. The recent sharp influx of cases has been attributed to the Delta variant’s higher transmissibility, being 60% more transmissible than other strains.

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