THE number of confirmed Scots cases of Covid variants of concern identified in India has quadrupled in a week, the Herald can reveal.

As of May 12 there were 58 cases of two of the strains, which it is feared may have increased transmissibility compared to 14 as of May 5.

It comes as No. 10 defended its decision not to ban travel from India sooner, saying the UK has "some of the toughest border measures".

The rise is attributed to the emergence of the B.1.617.2 strain from India - which has been surging in England.

There were no Scots cases as of May 5 - but there are now 35 of the second Indian variant.

The latest data shows there were 23 cases of the original B.1.617 Indian variant - a rise of nine. It comes as it emerged that Glasgow may have to remain under level three Covid restrictions for longer than a week.

The national clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said the situation remained "fragile" as case rates continue to climb.


The latest seven-day average per 100,000 population in the city is 94.5 cases, well above the level two benchmark of 50 cases.

Glasgow and Moray are the only local authority areas due to remain in level three on Monday, as the rest of mainland Scotland, including East Renfrewshire, go down to level two, and some islands to level one.

There is evidence the Glasgow surge is being driven by the so-called Indian variant, unlike in Moray where it is thought to be much less of a factor.

Glasgow and Moray are the only local authority areas due to remain in level three on Monday, as the rest of mainland Scotland, including East Renfrewshire, go down to level two, and some islands to level one.

The Indian strains are thought to include the L452R mutation, which is also found in the 'Californian variant' and which seems to confer some vaccine resistance and potentially more transmissibility.

Some experts believe B.1.617.2 is possibly spreading quicker in the English population than the existing B.1.1.7 Kent variant.

India was reporting more than 100,000 cases a day by April 5 but was not added on a four-nation basis to the 'travel ban' red list until April 23.

By the time the travel ban came into force, daily Covid cases in India had risen above 330,000.

Pakistan and Bangladesh were red-listed two week earlier amid concerns about the spread of new variants.

A new report showed that more than 20,000 people may have arrived in the UK from India despite warnings of the new variant.

Public Health England data revealed at least 122 people brought the Indian variant to Britain from New Dehli and Mumbai between late March and the end of April.

A "frail" person who had both coronavirus vaccines was hospitalised with the Indian variant in Bolton, it has been confirmed.

Five people who had had one Covid jab were also hospitalised in Bolton with the Indian variant.


Health secretary Matt Hancock said he he is not aware of anyone who has died after having both vaccines and catching the Indian variant.

Labour's Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, said India should have been red listed sooner.

She said on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I think we shouldn't be in this situation in the first place because this was not inevitable and they should have taken action on the India variant much earlier, they should have put it on the red list [earlier]."

But Mr Hancock said: "We can only make decisions based on the evidence that we have at the time and the evidence we had at the time was that the positivity of people coming from India was low at the start of April and it then rose. And when we saw it rising we brought in the red list restrictions that was before we knew about this new variant as even a variant under investigation."

Mr Hancock did not rule out that today's planned easing of restrictions south of the border may have to be reversed if the Indian variant proves to be very highly transmissible.

Prof John Edmunds, who advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said many of the Indian variant cases discovered in parts of the UK so far are associated with travel from India.

But he said that while the variant is a "new threat", the UK is in a much better position compared to before Christmas when the Kent variant was detected.

"I think we should be concerned but not panicking. We're in a much, much better place now than we were when the Kent variant first hit us back in November, December," he said.