Public Health England has released a list of the local authorities with the highest number of Indian variant cases of Covid-19, and also revealed figures for every part of the country.

The latest figure for the amount of cases of VOC-21APR-02, better known as the Indian variant, identified in the south west is now 98.

However, the exact figure for Cornwall is not known as any local authority with fewer than five cases in 'suppressed' in the data.

The good news though is that it indicates that if there are cases of the variant in Cornwall then the numbers are extremely low currently – and there could even be none at all.

Neighbouring local authorities including Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter also show as suppressed.

The data goes up to May 26.

The figures come as cases of the variant nationally almost double in a week, rising from 3,535 to 6,959.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference that up to three-quarters of new coronavirus cases nationally were the Indian variant.

The most affected areas continue to be Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen, which have seen 1,354, 366 and 361 confirmed cases, respectively.

A Public Health England (PHE) spokesperson said: "There are small numbers of cases of VOC-21APR-02 in most parts of the country.

"In some affected areas, hospitalisations are rising. Hospital attendances and admissions are predominantly in unvaccinated individuals, highlighting how crucial it is that people in these areas come forward to receive vaccination.

"Nationwide, up to May 25, 201 people who were confirmed to have VOC-21APR-02 attended A&E, resulting in 43 admissions.

"Evidence shows that VOC-21APR-02 is likely to be more transmissible than the dominant B.1.1.7 ‘Kent’ variant. Cases of VOC-21APR-02 have continued to grow faster than B.1.1.7 but an increase in overall cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) infections has only been seen in a small number of areas.

"PHE experts are monitoring the situation closely to establish how much more transmissible VOC-21APR-02 may be. It is crucial that everybody, particularly in the most affected areas, take particular care to remain responsible and vigilant."

They went on to add that a PHE study showed that two doses of vaccine offers high levels of protection against symptomatic disease from VOC-21APR-02.

"We expect the vaccines to be effective at preventing hospitalisation and death, so it is vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants," they said.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "With cases of the variant first identified in India continuing to rise in some areas, we are urging people to be very cautious and follow the guidance on hygiene, face coverings, social distancing and meeting outdoors.

"We now know that getting both vaccine doses gives a high degree of protection against this variant and we urge everyone to have the vaccine when the NHS invites you."

A further variant, VUI-21MAY-02 (C.36.3), was designated as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) on Monday this week, May 24 on the basis of the mutation profile and increased importation from a widening international area.

There have been 109 cases of VUI-21MAY-02 dispersed across the country to date. The C.36.3 variant was first detected in Thailand, in cases who had travelled from Egypt.

Public Health England said: "There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective. PHE is carrying out laboratory testing to better understand the impact of the mutations on the behaviour of the virus."