The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which threatens the lifting of the latest restrictions in the United Kingdom, is transmitted 40% more than the Alpha variant until then dominant in the United Kingdom, British Minister of Health Matt Hancock said on Sunday.
“The best estimate of the growth advantage, as we call it (…) is around 40%,” he told the BBC, citing the work of the group of scientists advising the government. Despite an increase in the number of new cases of Covid-19 in recent days, exceeding 5,000 or even 6,000 cases recorded daily, the number of hospitalizations remains stable, added Matt Hancock. The majority of hospitalizations concern patients who have not been vaccinated, he assured.
A postponed deconfinement?
The hardest-hit country in Europe with nearly 128,000 dead, the UK has administered at least a first dose of vaccine to more than 40 million people. More than 27 million received a second dose.
But the arrival of the Delta variant, first identified in April in India and now dominant in the United Kingdom, according to estimates, after a long winter confinement threatens the lifting of the last restrictions hoped for on June 21. By that date, about three-fifths of adults will be fully immunized, added Matt Hancock, up from 52% currently.
According to some British newspapers, the government plans to postpone this deadline by two weeks. The decision is expected on June 14.