New Covid variant discovered in Yorkshire, Public Health England confirms
A new variant of Covid-19 has been discovered in Yorkshire and the Humber, Public Health England has confirmed.
There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective, the authority said.
A total of 49 cases of the variant have so far been identified, "mainly concentrated" in Yorkshire and the Humber.
It is now considered a Variant Under Investigation (VUI), though has not been designated a Variant of Concern, such as the so-called Indian variant.
Public Health England said that increased laboratory testing is underway to better understand the impact of the mutations on the behaviour of the virus.
Where cases of the variant, officially known as VUI-21MAY-01, have been identified, additionally follow-up of cases, testing of contacts and targeted case finding are in place.
More information will be available in Variant Technical Briefing 12, which Public Health England will publish on Friday, May 21.
It comes just days after Wakefield Council confirmed that the first cases of the Indian variant of the virus had been confirmed in the district.
Speaking on Tuesday, the local authority said that "fewer than five cases" had been identified.
Surge testing has also been introduced in six areas of the country, including Kirklees, to help tackle the spread of the Indian variant.
Meanwhile, all those aged 34 and over are now being invited to book their Covid vaccinations.