The latest localised weekly data has shown the number of Indian variant cases has risen sharply in two boroughs, with 183 total cases recorded in total in south east London.

Both Greenwich and Bromley now have over 50 cases of the Indian variant, the spread of which is thought to now threaten the Government's June 21 plans.

On Thursday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Indian variant is spreading and the latest estimates show it makes up more than half - and possibly as many as three-quarters - of all new Covid cases.

And the newly released figures from Public Health England show that cases of the VOC-21APR-02 are rising locally.

Nationally, the number of cases of the variant has nearly doubled from 3,535 to 6,956 since last week.

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The most affected areas continue to be in the north east such as Bolton, and in a small number of affected areas, hospitalisations are also rising, PHE said.

And the latest now-weekly figures for each local authority show cases leaping ahad in two boroughs.

Greenwich has now recorded 64 cases of the mutant variant, the most in south east London.

As reported on May 17, although data may be delayed, the borough had last week recorded eight cases.

In Bromley, the number of variant cases has also increased significantly, rising from eight to 59.

In Bexley, the number is much lower, with just 27 cases reported.

Also in south east London, Southwark has recorded 17 cases of the Indian variant, whilst Lewisham has the lowest number with 16.

Nearby, Dartford has recorded 13 new cases of the variant, whilst Croydon is one of the highest in the country with 76.

Cases of the variant are increasing across the country, and nationwide, up to 25 May, 201 people who were confirmed to have VOC-21APR-02 attended A&E, resulting in 43 admissions.

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But health bodies say they are doing their best to contain the spread, and say they are confident that numbers are currently low.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency, said: "With cases of the variant first identified in India continuing to rise in some areas, we are urging people to be very cautious and follow the guidance on hygiene, face coverings, social distancing and meeting outdoors.

"We now know that getting both vaccine doses gives a high degree of protection against this variant and we urge everyone to have the vaccine when the NHS invites you."

In London, PHE is working across the health system and with borough council leaders in parts of the city where cases have been identified.

A targeted approach is being used throughout the city, including Hounslow and other parts of west London, where dispersed clusters have been detected.

This includes whole genome sequencing, PCR testing, settings-based testing, enhanced contact tracing, self-isolation support, and enhanced vaccine deployment to ensure that second doses for priority groups are brought forward and that maximum uptake is achieved for first doses.

Evidence shows that VOC-21APR-02 is likely to be more transmissible than the dominant B.1.1.7 ‘Kent’ variant. Cases of VOC-21APR-02 have continued to grow faster than B.1.1.7 but an increase in overall cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections has only been seen in a small number of areas.

PHE experts are monitoring the situation closely to establish how much more transmissible VOC-21APR-02 may be.