The variant of Covid-19 that originated in India is now believed to be the dominant strain of the virus – with evidence suggesting it could lead to more hospital admissions.

A total of 12,431 cases of the Indian variant, also known as the Delta variant, have been confirmed in the UK up to June 2, according to Public Health England (PHE).

This up 79 per cent from the previous week’s total of 6,959.

Blackburn with Darwen has seen 368 new cases of the variant, bringing it to 724 in total.

Early evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of being admitted to hospital for this variant compared with the Kent, or Alpha, variant – but “more data is needed to have more confidence in that finding”, PHE added.

Nationally, 278 people with the Indian variant attended A and E in the most recent week, resulting in 94 people being admitted to hospital overnight.

This compares with 201 A and E attendances in the previous week, with 43 admissions.

The majority of admissions continue to be people who have not been vaccinated, PHE said.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “With this variant now dominant across the UK, it remains vital that we all continue to exercise as much caution as possible.

“The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of Covid-19 as a whole. Work from home where you can, and practice ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.

“If you are eligible and have not already done so, please come forward to be vaccinated and make sure you get your second jab. It will save lives.”