Cases of the new faster-spreading coronavirus strain have been found in Oxfordshire by scientists.

The Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium sampled cases around the UK and found eight cases in the county, as seen in an interactive map on its website.

ALSO READ: Visitors banned at hospital trust - with these exceptions

It only shows samples that have been processed and sequenced, not the real number of total cases and is up to December 19.

Though the cases appear to be in Oxford, the geographic location is only approximate.

Oxford Mail: Places the new Covid strain has been found. Picture: COG-UKPlaces the new Covid strain has been found. Picture: COG-UK

The variant has also been found in the South West, Midlands and North of England.

View the map here

Jeffrey Barrett, lead Covid-19 statistical geneticist at COG-UK,at a scientific breifing yesterday, warned there was a lag in the sequence data being sampled, so the most recent data was from the first week of December when England came out of the second national lockdown.

The new variant led to London and parts of southern and eastern England being rushed into the new Tier 4 regime at the weekend, effectively cancelling Christmas plans and imposing measures similar to previous national lockdowns.

ALSO READ: Almost 400 new Covid cases in county in 24 hours

Dr Barrett said more up-to-date data from community testing also found one of the mutations of this variant is 'present in very many different places in England'.

Scientists Professor Lawrence Young and Professor Robert Dingwall explained the new variant is more transmissible because it “sticks” more easily to receptors in the throat and nose – which preliminary research also suggests is the reason it seems to be more prevalent among children.

Prof Dingwall, who is a leading medical sociologist and sits in committee meetings with Nervtag virologists every week, said: “My understanding of it is that you are producing more of the infection in the upper respiratory tract and the virus is reproducing faster so that there is more to go into the air, to pass from one person to another.”

Prof Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School, added that children have less of the receptors which picked up the older coronavirus variant, meaning they were less likely to catch it, but the new variant “might compensate for lower levels of that receptor or that door to the virus in children by being stickier”.