Two Omicron Covid variant cases have possibly been found in south Essex - say council bosses.

"One highly probable and one probable Omicron case" have been recorded in Shoebury, Southend Council officials have announced.

Earlier in the week Southend’s director of public health Krishna Ramkhelawon joined calls from education secretary Nadhim Zahawi for pupils aged 11 and above to wear masks in communal areas.

Southend Council says whilst the linked cases have not been laboratory confirmed, we have taken swift and precautionary action in line with the national process.

Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health at Southend Council, says: “One highly probable and one probable Omicron case have been identified in the Borough, linked to international travel to Southern Africa.

“Following detailed contact tracing by the council and in liaison with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), we are taking a proportionate and precautionary approach. To limit any potential spread, we have directly asked a number of close contacts to isolate other than to attend a PCR mobile testing unit on Monday that is being put in place solely for these contacts.

“In terms of advice to the wider public, if you have not been directly contacted by the council’s local tracing team, you do not need to take any action at this time. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, it is critical that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately. We also ask that people continue to follow national guidance to stay safe including wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport, getting vaccinated and making booster jab appointments when contacted and acting responsibly by making space and letting air in when indoors.”