Army deployed to Bolton in race to crackdown on Indian variant – as Covid cases soar 158%, Boris says

THE ARMY is set to be deployed in Bolton in a race to crack down on the Indian variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced this evening.

Cases in the Greater Manchester town have risen by 158 per cent in the last week.

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Surge testing had already been deployed in the area in order to detect cases of the Indian and South African variant.

Tonight Mr Johnson said the army would help push out more surge tests.

He said: "For those living in Bolton there is now a new, greater risk from this variant.

"The army will be out on the streets handing out tests".

Mr Johnson urged people to continue to play their part by getting vaccinated and tested and said this would be the best way to suppress the virus.

Despite the harsh actions, Mr Johnson reassured Brits that his roadmap out of lockdown would continue on Monday.

The plan will mean that pubs can open indoors and overnight stays will be permitted.

It is believed that the Indian variant is more transmissible than those already in circulation.

Mr Johnson tonight said it wasn't clear yet how much more transmissible the virus is.

The variant isn't thought to evade vaccine and the three being rolled out across the UK will still give people protection, it is understood.

Mr Johnson said: "I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it harder to move to stage 4 in June.

"We will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe."

Bolton currently has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the country, with 657 new cases in the seven days to May 10 – the equivalent of 228.5 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 88.7 in the seven days to May 3.

Erewash in Derbyshire has the second highest rate, up from 88.4 to 163.0, with 188 new cases.

Blackburn with Darwen has the third highest, up from 56.8 to 111.6, with 167 new cases.

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