Coronavirus UK news LIVE – Indian Covid variant cases DOUBLE but Spain stays open for Brits with no vaccine needed

CONFIRMED cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 have doubled in a week to reach almost 7,000.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Thursday night’s Downing Street press conference that up to three-quarters of new coronavirus cases were the Indian strain.

But he stressed that vaccines were helping to keep people out of hospital.

He said: “The latest estimates are that more than half and potentially as many as three-quarters of all new cases are now of this variant.

“As we set out our road map we always expected cases to rise, we must remain vigilant.”

The local areas most affected by the Indian variant of coronavirus continue to be Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen.

Seven further areas in England have more than 100 confirmed cases of the variant: Leicester, Sefton, Nottingham, Wigan, Central Bedfordshire, Manchester and Hillingdon.

Despite the rise in cases, Spain has defended its decision to open up to British tourists despite France and Germany unveiling tougher rules.

“The UK [is] one of the countries with most influence in our tourism market which is a fundamental part of our economy,” said Carolina Darias, Spain’s Health Minister.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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