Dozens of additional cases of the Indian variant of concern have been found in two coastal areas of Wales over the bank holiday weekend.
Public Health Wales has confirmed that 35 confirmed or presumptive cases of the variant of concern first identified in India (VOC-21APR-02) are present in Llandudno Junction, Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay areas of north Wales.
It follows 18 cases being discovered in this region on Friday, May 28, meaning the total number now stands at 53. Conwy county now has the second highest Covid infection rate in Wales.
Public Health Wales, Conwy County Borough Council and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are urging people living in those areas to be alert for coronavirus symptoms and to take a test as soon as possible even if they have no symptoms.
Richard Firth, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, and chair of the multi-agency incident management team, said: “This is a fast-moving situation. Please be vigilant for the symptoms of coronavirus and get a test now.
“The emergence of so many new cases of this transmissible new variant of coronavirus in the Llandudno Junction, Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay areas is a reminder that we should not become complacent, even as rates of the virus across Wales remain low.
“Speed is of the essence. The sooner we act, the better, so please, come forward for testing as soon as you can. The more people with symptoms who come forward, the more cases we will find. More people can then be referred into the Test, Trace, Protect programme, allowing contact tracers to take action to put a stop to the spread of this variant in the area.
If you are contacted by contact tracers, please help to protect your community by being honest with them about your movements and complying with their instructions.
I also urge anyone aged 39 years and under to get a vaccine as soon as possible. Besti Cadwaladr University Health Board is delivering vaccination sessions for people aged 39 and under today (Wednesday) and Thursday from 9am until 7.30pm at the Mass Vaccination Centre at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.
Penrhyn Bay (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)
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As well as the three most common symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people are now able to get a test if they have any of a new list of other symptoms too.
These are: flu-like symptoms, which are not caused by a known condition such as hay fever, including any or all of: myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing; any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test.
The current evidence is that variant VOC-21APR-02 is at least as easy to catch as the dominant Kent variant, but it may be slightly more transmissible. The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the variants first identified in India after two doses.
In Wales, the number of cases of the Indian variant of concern currently stands at 58 but the number is expected to go up. The numbers of variant cases in Wales are reported on the Public Health Wales surveillance dashboard at 12pm on Tuesday and Thursday.
For residents without symptoms, lateral flow device (LFD) tests are available for collection from the Mobile Test Unit at Ysgol Awel y Mynydd Sarn Mynach, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9RZ. This is a walk in/drive through centre, no appointment is necessary and is open from 8am-8pm (closed between 1pm-2pm).
Anyone with symptoms should go to Conwy Business Centre, Junction Way, Llandudno Junction, LL31 9XX for a PCR test. This is a walk in/drive through centre, no appointment is necessary and is open from 8am-8pm (closed between 1pm-2pm).

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