Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed there is community transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant in multiple regions of England.
He told MPs the variant was continuing to spread in the UK and around the world and there were now cases in the UK with no links to international travel.
BBC News reports there have been 336 confirmed cases of the highly-mutated variant across the UK.
Of the confirmed Omicron cases, 261 were in England, 71 in Scotland and four in Wales while Northern Ireland is yet to have a confirmed case.
It has been stressed by experts that evidence on Omicron variant’s impact on the transmissibility of the virus, severity of disease, and effect of prior immunity (from vaccination or infection) is still in the very early stages so conclusions cannot be made yet.