UP to 22 more cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been detected in Dudley, new figures reveal.

Public Health Englan (PHE) data shows 22 positive variants were identified in Dudley by May 25, from samples taken in the week to May 21.

This came after the health body identified 20 cases the week before.

A new test centre is up and running in Halesowen in Birmingham Street car park this week and next week for people to visit without the need for making an appointment.

The centre was opened in response to cases of the Indian variant in the area. It is open 10am to 6pm and can be accessed by car or by foot.

The majority of areas in England have now reported at least one case of the Indian variant.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said up to three-quarters of new coronavirus cases nationally are the Indian variant, though he stressed the vaccines are helping to keep hospital admissions down.

Public Health England has been tracking the spread of the B.1.617.2 mutation – which originated in India – by testing positive Covid-19 cases across the country for an "S-gene".

The gene is not present in the dominant Kent variant, which was responsible for a surge in cases over the winter, but is present in other variants of concern, including those from India.

Scientists have determined that the vast majority of the S-gene specimens identified across England are the Indian variant.

PHE data shows 22 positive cases of the S-gene were identified in Dudley by May 25, from samples taken in the week to May 21.

PHE figures show 6,959 cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus had been confirmed across the UK by May 26 – a rise of 3,535 on the previous week.

Mr Hancock said the increase in cases of the Indian variant remained focused in “hotspots” – such as Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen – where surge testing and vaccinations were taking place.

Separate PHE data shows that the majority of people with the Indian variant have not been vaccinated, with those who had received both doses accounting for just 3 per cent of cases between February 1 and May 25.

Over the same period there were 12 deaths linked to the variant, of which eight were among the unvaccinated.