More than 1,300 people in the UK have been infected with the new variant, which experts have warned could be 50 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant.
New data also showed that seven people died of coronavirus and 1,926 new cases were recorded on Sunday.
Matt Hancock said on Sunday there is “increasing confidence” that vaccines work against the variant and that those who had been hospitalised with the new strain had turned down jabs.
The Health Secretary said on Sunday it is “appropriate” to push on with the major easing of restrictions in England on Monday.
He did not rule out the possibility of imposing local lockdowns in areas such as Bolton to stem the spread of the variant, although he said it is “relatively widespread in small numbers” elsewhere.
Ministers are hoping surge testing and the acceleration of second vaccine doses can allow a safe opening up of the nation, with jabs due to be extended to the over-35s this week.
Mr Hancock the Indian variant is becoming “the dominant strain” in areas including Bolton and Blackburn in the North West.
However Mr Hancock said there is “new very early data” from Oxford University giving confidence that existing vaccines work against the variant.
“That means that we can stay on course with our strategy of using the vaccine to deal with the pandemic and opening up carefully and cautiously but we do need to be really very vigilant to the spread of the disease,” the health secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.
“We have a high degree of confidence that the vaccine will overcome.”