THERE are cases of the Covid-19 Indian variant in Somerset.

Latest data from Public Health England shows that between zero and five cases have been found in Somerset West and Taunton and Mendip.

According to the data published on June 3, there are no confirmed cases in South Somerset and Sedgemoor.

But across the South West, at least 171 cases have been identified, making it the eight-worst affected of England's nine regions.

The North West – where variant hotspots Bolton and Blackburn are located – continues to have the highest numbers identified.

A total of 12,431 cases of the Delta variant had been confirmed in the UK by June 2, up 79% from the previous week’s total of 6,959.

Of these, 10,797 (87%) were in England, 1,511 (12%) in Scotland, 97 in Wales and 26 in Northern Ireland.

A PHE risk assessment found that vaccines were less effective against the strain compared to the Kent mutation – or Alpha variant.

The findings also suggest people are more at risk of hospital admission if infected with the Delta variant, though PHE cautioned that “more data is needed to have more confidence in that finding”.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we all continue to exercise as much caution as possible.

“The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of Covid-19 as a whole.

"Work from home where you can, and practice ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.

“If you are eligible and have not already done so, please come forward to be vaccinated and make sure you get your second jab. It will save lives.”