THERE have been another five Covid deaths at East Sussex hospitals.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust runs the DGH, Conquest and Bexhill Hospital.

Its death toll sadly now is 144, five up on the previous figure.

These figures were up to 5pm on Thursday.

Ewan Birney, deputy director general of European Molecular Biological Laboratory, said the new variant had been growing “very strongly in the south of England” but it was not possible to say definitively that it was transmitting faster than others or whether it was because the number of cases in general was growing.

However, he added most scientists “think it is going faster – that it really is a property of the virus”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I must stress how complicated it is to work out, in a situation where things might be growing for other reasons, to really put your finger on that it’s actually the virus which is doing it but the evidence is pointing in that direction.”