Omicron variant of Covid-19 found in North Norfolk

A further eight cases of the new variant have been identified today, with one in North Norfolk Credit: ITV

A case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been found in north Norfolk, the government has confirmed.

One of eight cases identified today, the UKHSA said work is now under way to identify if the north Norfolk patient has recently travelled to southern Africa.

Cases were confirmed in the East Midlands, the East of England, London and North West, bringing the total number identified in the country to 13.

Nine cases have also been identified in Scotland, meaning 22 cases have beenidentified across the two countries.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of UKHSA, said: "We are continuing our efforts to understand the effect of this variant on transmissibility, severe disease, mortality, antibody response and vaccine efficacy. Vaccination is critical to help us bolster our defences against this new variant - please get your first, second, third or booster jab without delay.

"Following the change in JCVI advice yesterday, a booster dose for everyone over 18 years is now recommended at a minimum of three months from your last primary course jab."

She urged people to take up the offer and to wear masks in line with guidance "to help break the chains of transmission and slow the spread of this new variant".

Dr Harries added: "It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focused contact tracing. That's why it's critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately."