British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he was incredibly worried about a new variant of the coronavirus found in South Africa, Reuters news agency reports.

The agency quotes one of the UK government’s scientific advisers as saying that “they are not as confident the vaccines will be as effective against the new variant”.

Last month, South Africa confirmed that the new, faster-spreading, coronavirus variant had been detected.

It is known as 501.V2 and is believed to be driving a new surge of infections in the country.

The UK has already banned travel from South Africa because of the new variant.