Covid infection rates in Portsmouth start to increase - with younger people more affected

COVID infection rates in Portsmouth have risen in the last week with the ‘majority’ of cases affecting younger, un-vaccinated people.

By Fiona Callingham
Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:53 pm

Portsmouth’s public health boss, Helen Atkinson, said the increase was ‘expected’ with the easing of restrictions but said a successful vaccination programme should help protect the NHS.

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Speaking to The News on Monday morning - before the government’s daily update of cases – Ms Atkinson said: ‘Our latest weekly figures show 65 new cases were recorded for Portsmouth since the previous weekly figures where shared, an increase of 45.

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The city's public health boss has urged people to have their vaccines as infection rates rise. Photo by JACOB KING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

‘Our current seven-day rate per 100,000 of the population of Portsmouth is 30.2, up from the 9.3 figure reported last week.

‘Increasing case numbers were expected due to the easing of restrictions as we move through the prime minister’s roadmap and more people meet with others outside of their household. However the numbers remain low compared to earlier this year.

‘The data show the majority of cases are those in the younger age groups who are less likely to have been vaccinated.’

She confirmed no cases of the Indian variant had so far been recorded in Portsmouth.

‘I urge anyone eligible who has been invited to get vaccinated, and anyone due for their second dose not to delay, as it's your best protection from getting seriously ill from the virus,’ she said.

‘Public Health England has reported that the current vaccines being offered provide protection to the Indian and other circulating variants which is great news as current evidence suggests the Indian variant is more transmissible.’

Ms Atkinson added: ‘Increasing case numbers were expected as restrictions are gradually eased and people mix more with others outside of their household. The vaccination programme has been very successful in reducing serious illness, hospitalisation and deaths in our most vulnerable populations.

‘The programme is on track to have offered all over 18s their first vaccination by the end of July. We expect to see the virus spreading and increased cases in the community but we are hopeful that the success of the vaccination programme will ensure we don’t see the same pressures in the NHS that we saw in the previous waves.

‘There is always the risk that the virus mutates, which is what we are now seeing with the Indian variant. Therefore, I remind everyone to practise the things we know help protect us against catching and spreading the virus.’

As of Monday evening a total of 14,414 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded in Portsmouth since the start of the pandemic.

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