‘New variant’ of coronavirus identified in UK, health secretary says

A “new variant” of coronavirus has been identified in the UK, which is believed to be causing the faster spread in the South East, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.

Its spread is growing faster than the existing variant, with over a thousand cases, he added.

There have been reports of this new variant in 60 local authority areas, and it is believed to be similar to that found in other countries over the last few months.

Mr Hancock told MPs in the Commons there is currently “nothing to suggest” this variant will cause serious disease, adding that it is highly unlikely that it won’t respond to a vaccine.