A new strain of the coronavirus has been found in the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) said there have been 41 cases of the mutant strain - known as AY.1 and related to the Delta variant - since it was first detected in the UK on April 26 and it is "continuing to investigate its significance".

In this country it has been labelled a variant under investigation.

Dubbed Delta Plus the mutated strain has been found in 16 people in Maharashtra in Inda with more cases in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

It has been detected 41 times in the UK up to June 18 - with 16 new cases detected in the last week.

There are also cases in the USA, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia and China.

Public Health England has said the Delta variant is up to 60 per cent more contagious than the Alpha (Kent) one that emerged in December last year.

Scientists told the BBC it is still too early to tell if so-called Delta Plus is more dangerous than the original Delta (Indian) variant, and suggested India acted too soon to label it a variant of concern.

The Argus: India has reported a new "Delta plus" coronavirus variant of concern, officials have saidIndia has reported a new "Delta plus" coronavirus variant of concern, officials have said

India's Union Health Ministry said Delta Plus shows increased transmissibility - meaning it spreads even more easily than other strains.

It also appears to attack lung cells more easily and could be resistant to a form of antibody therapy.

The mutation of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is officially named AY.1.

It carries the K417N, seen in the Beta variant, which is believed to affect vaccine efficacy.

Another new variant under investigation has also been detected in the UK - from Thailand and Egypt.

It is C.36.3 and there have been more than 130 cases since it was found on May 21.

Currently in the UK, Delta makes up more than 99 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases.

A Nepalese mutation of the Delta variant was reported to be behind Portugal being moved from the green to amber travel lists last month.

Experts have repeatedly said that the virus will mutate constantly over time, with some variants posing a risk, as they could escape the immune system.