British Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday June 6 that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, and which threatens the lifting of the last restrictions in the United Kingdom, had a 40% additional chance of be transmitted as the Alpha variant, until then dominant in the country.
“The fairest estimate of the growth advantage – as we call it (…) – is about 40% “Hancock 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 identified in recent days, which exceed 5,000 or even 6,000 daily cases, the number of hospitalizations remains stable, added Mr. Hancock. The majority of hospitalizations concern patients who have not been vaccinated, he assured.
A lifting of the restrictions postponed?
The hardest-hit country in Europe with more than 128,000 deaths, the UK has administered at least a first dose of vaccine to more than 40 million people, with more than 27 million having also received their second dose.
But the arrival of the Delta variant, now dominant in the United Kingdom according to estimates, threatens the lifting of the last restrictions, hoped for on June 21 after a long winter confinement. By that date, about three-fifths of adults will be fully immunized, Hancock added, 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.