Delta variant threatens vaccine progress as its spreads across Europe

Madrid Desk, Jun 29 (EFE).- The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant is threatening to scupper the progress made in Europe in reducing Covid-19 cases through advanced vaccine rollouts.

The virulent mutation, which was first detected in India, is now the most prevalent in Europe, accounting for about 50 % of new infections in Germany, where authorities are calling for tighter controls on travelers arriving from abroad.

The head of the chancellery, Helge Braun, on Tuesday criticized other European countries’ comparatively lax approach to people arriving from high risk areas, while chancellor Angela Merkel called for increased cooperation with EU member states to avoid a resurgence of the virus on the continent.

Travelers from India, the UK, Russia and Portugal must all undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

The Delta variant is spreading rampantly in the Iberian country. In just one month, it has gone from accounting for 4% of infections to 55.6%.

Based on those figures, a government report said, the strain will “become dominant throughout the national territory in the coming weeks.”

Russia registered 652 new deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday, the highest number of fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic. Moscow is the most affected city, with 121 deaths and 6,209 new cases.

According to the director of the Gamaleya Scientific Institute, Alexandr Gintsburg, about 90% of new Covid-19 cases in Russia are of the Delta variant, stressing that the only way to curb the pandemic is through vaccination. Only 22.2 million people, 15.18% of the Russian population, have been inoculated.

Meanwhile in France, the Delta variant accounts for about 20% of cases and will soon become the dominant variant in the country, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, warned Tuesday.

The mutation “has not increased the (overall) number of cases,” but it is “more contagious”, he said.

The minister explained that, despite the spread of the variant, the incidence rate — currently at 18.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days — “continues to fall” in the country. EFE


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