Five cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Dorset.

According to data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), three cases of the new Covid variant were found in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area in the week of November 29.

And two cases were found in the Dorset county area in the same week.

It is understood these cases have just been confirmed.

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Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, said: “We are aware that the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed a small number of confirmed and probable cases of the Omicron variant in Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

"UKHSA are managing the response to Omicron and we are working with them to ensure all necessary actions are taken. Cases are being supported to self-isolate and any contacts of confirmed cases will be informed and given advice.

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"This new variant is a reminder that COVID-19 is still with us and we need to take steps to reduce transmission and protect ourselves and loved ones. Along with many other areas in England, we have also seen high infection rates locally for a number of weeks, which means there is an increased risk to us all from COVID-19. During the winter months, we know that respiratory viruses spread more easily and we are seeing the impact of that across Dorset.   

“With the festive period ahead and people starting to gather more, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind everyone of what you can do to stay safe. Please get vaccinated, including your booster jab.

"The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness caused by COVID-19, but it doesn’t necessarily stop you from catching or spreading the virus, so that’s why we need other precautionary measures as well.

"Take rapid tests regularly so you can check you’re not infectious, especially before attending gatherings or meeting others. And remember the basic measures - wear a face covering, wash your hands and get plenty of fresh air.”