Delta variant continues to be dominant Covid-19 strain in UK: Study
Health officials in the United Kingdom have said the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), first found in India last year, continues to be the dominant strain of the SARS-CoV2-virus in the UK, though they added that both doses of an anti-Covid vaccine offer “high protection” against the variant.
The data, released by Public Health England (PHE), also showed that cases due to the Delta variant in the UK rose to 216,249 from 161,981 last week. This represents a rise of 54,268 cases from last week, as against 50,824 last week from the week before that.
“The data continues to show that the sharp increase in cases that we’re seeing is not being followed by a similar increase in hospitalisations and death,” Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the PHE, said. “This is because two doses of the available vaccines offer a high level of protection against the Delta variant. Getting both the jabs is the best way to ensure that you and the people you love remain safe. So, we once again urge everyone to come forward for the vaccination as soon as they’re eligible,” Harries said further.
She also urged people to remain “careful and cautious” as the country moves towards the planned end of restrictions, on July 19. “Cases are rising across the country, and while the vaccines offer excellent protection, they don’t give 100% safety,” Harries remarked.
The weekly PHE study also found that the Delta Plus variant, which is a mutation of the Delta variant, has thus far led to only 44 cases. The Delta variant, or the B.1.617.2 strain, was found accounting for 99% of the cases sequenced across the UK, followed by the Alpha variant, which was first detected locally.
On Friday, the UK reported 35,707 new daily Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day rise in infections since January 22. On July 12, the government of prime minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to take a final decision on ending all legal lockdown restrictions in the country from July 19. However, experts have urged Johnson to let some safety measures stay as daily infections continue to rise.