CONFIRMED cases of the Indian Variant of coronavirus were revealed yesterday as the most recent lockdown easing came into place.

Cumbria's director of public health has said that there were a 'small number' of cases of the variant in the region, according to data revealed yesterday morning.

The cases have been located in South Lakeland but no further information has yet become available.

Speaking yesterday, Colin Cox, director of public health for Cumbria, said: “A small number of cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been confirmed in Cumbria today. The current number of confirmed positive cases is fewer than 10.

"At the moment we are just following the same measures we have always done and will be doing contact tracing on these cases and make sure they are as isolated as possible.

"Clearly there has been a lot of concern across the whole country about this variant and it is picking up a lot of pace compared to the Kent Variant for example.

"What we do not know is if that means we get greater transmission, as it still very early at the moment.

Colin Cox

Colin Cox

"Half the cases we are seeing across the country now are this variant, but does that mean it is going to turn into a third wave.

"Originally the thought was that the variant was spread by those coming back from India but now it is clear there is now wider community transmission to this, so it not just connected to the Indian community.

"There is no information as to how it has come to Cumbria at this point.

"The two key things to consider, as I know today we are relaxing restrictions further, and although you can see friends and family, it doesn't mean you have to right away. I would say take the next steps carefully, look after yourselves, keep in line with guidelines, and when the chance comes for vaccination, please do get vaccinated."

MPs have urged caution but advised the public not to panic.

Barrow MP Simon Fell said: "Given the nature of this variant, it was only a matter of time.

"However, the early data shows that the vaccine is effective against it - so, please, if you get the call, get the jab. And please remember to stick to hands, face, space."

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “The news that the Indian variant has been detected in Cumbria should not be a cause for panic - but we must be careful.

“The easing of restrictions today is massively welcome, but we all need to be sensible and remember that the risk of transmission is far lower outdoors.

“But the most important thing that we can all do to protect each other from this virus is to make sure that you get your vaccine when you get you called up.

“It absolutely still is the golden ticket to getting out of this crisis. I’m getting my second dose this weekend and I’m enormously grateful to the NHS workers and volunteers who are working their socks off to roll out the vaccine.

“So, when it’s your turn make sure you get the jab.”