THE Indian variant of Covid-19 has been identified in the south west, Public Health Dorset confirmed.

The health body said they are aware of the variant in the area, but numbers are low compared to elsewhere in the country.

A spokesperson said: “Cases of the Indian variants have been identified in the south west over recent weeks, although the numbers are low compared to other regions in England.

“In Dorset, we are continuing to work closely with Public Health England to keep the situation under review.

“The advice remains the same as for any variant of Covid-19, the best way to protect yourself and others is to follow the public health measures.

“Get vaccinated, get tested and remember hands, face, space and fresh air.”

So far, there are 1,313 confirmed cases of the B16172 variant in the UK.

The cases are spread across the country, with the majority in the North West, mainly in Bolton, Sefton in Merseyside, Blackburn in Lancashire, and London.

At present, there is no evidence the B16172 variant is resistant to current vaccines.

Professor Robert Dingwall, who is a member of Nervtag (New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group) said: "This variant seems to be better managed by the vaccines than the South African variant so that vaccinated people have only a very low risk of infection that is likely to be mild.”

Boris Johnson will be giving a press conference today at 5pm after four deaths related to the Indian variant have been recorded.