A highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is now rapidly spreading across the globe, causing more stringent curbs in some countries and derailing lockdown plans of others.
The Delta variant, first detected in India, has been listed as "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Here's how the Delta variant is affecting the world:
- The Zimbabwean government on Saturday announced a two-week localised lockdown for Hurungwe and Kariba districts after detecting the Delta variant of Covid-19. The government said that more than 40 cases were recorded in the last three days.
- The UK government is considering a delay of up to four weeks from the scheduled June 21 end to all lockdown restrictions amid a continuing rise in cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19. Public Health England (PHE) found that infections from the variant rose by nearly 30,000 in a week.
- The WHO's Europe director warned last week that the highly transmissible variant is "poised to take hold in the region". During a press briefing on Thursday, WHO's Dr Hans Kluge said the Delta variant has shown signs of being able to evade some vaccines and warned that many vulnerable populations, particularly those over age 60, remain unprotected.
- France is racing to contain the more scattered cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19. The country's health minister Olivier Veran said that France has multiple clusters of the variant, notably in the southwest Landes region.
- On the same day, top health official of Sri Lanka said that the Delta variant has been found in the island nations as well. Dr Chandima Jeewandara, the Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, said that variant was found in one person from a quarantine facility. Sri Lanka has witnessed an increase of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths since April.
- Guangzhou in China has reported more than 100 cases of local transmission since May 21. Doctors say the cases in Guangzhou were caused by the more contagious Delta variant.
- A recent study by All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi claimed that the presence of Delta variant is predominantly found even after getting a single dose or both doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The study included 63 people who got breakthrough infections. Of these, 36 patients received two doses, while 27 had received one dose of vaccine.
- Some experts claim that the delta variant may be 100 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant variant, alpha. Jonathan R Goodman, PhD candidate, Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, said on Saturday that the UK government's decision to lengthen the period between first and second vaccine doses provided delta with an extra window to infect people.