BARNSLEY is not one of the areas currently battling rising cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus, health bosses in the town have confirmed.

The latest rate of infection is 31.6 per 100,000 people - a dwindling figure which is ‘welcome’ news for the town’s director of public health, Julia Burrows.

Ms Burrows also confirmed that the town is not one of 86 councils to have five or more confirmed cases of the virus’ so-called Indian variant - though she says ‘it’s more likely than not’ it will cause concern in Barnsley in the future.

She said: “I know that some of you may be worried about the VOC-21APR-02 variant, first identified in India, following the Secretary of State’s announcement last week and the wide media coverage since.

“I can confirm that Barnsley is not one of the 86 councils with five or more confirmed cases that were mentioned in the briefing.

“However, that’s not to say that we might not see this or any other variants of concern in the future, and it’s more likely than not that we will.

“The concern about the possible impact of variants is why we need to keep being as careful as possible in all the activities we do to ensure that community transmission in Barnsley remains low. “In addition, we are ready to step up surge testing quickly if we need to and even more crucially - are moving as fast as we can to get as many people vaccinated as possible and seeing great progress on this.”