The variant first identified in India now accounts for more than 90 per cent of new cases of COVID-19 in the UK.
Health authorities in Britain have said the new Delta coronavirus variant is 60 per cent more transmissible in households than the previous dominant alpha variant which forced the UK to close in January.
The Delta variant, emerging for the first time in India, has caused an increase in cases in Britain, which has raised questions about whether physical restrictions on disengagement will be lifted as planned by 21 June.
A new study Friday by Public Health England “suggests that the Delta variant is associated with an increased risk of about 60 per cent of household transmission” compared to the Alpha variant previously identified in the south-east of England.
To date there have been 42,323 identified cases of the Delta variant in the UK, according to Public Health England data, from 29,892 on 2 June. The variant now accounts for more than 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases.
The Alpha variant caused an increase in COVID-19 cases in January ahead of a mass vaccination campaign, leading to a three-month block that hospitals have been extended to their capacity.
Subsequently, the government increased its vaccination unit, and administered nearly 41 million first-dose and nearly 29 million second-dose doses to adults over 25 years of age.
This means that 43 percent of the total population are fully vaccinated and 18 percent are half vaccinated.
But homes are growing again, with new daily infections hitting 7,393 on Thursday, a level not seen since February. More than 90 percent of the new homes were of the Delta variant, the government said.
However, the number of patients in hospital remains low, at just over 1,000 on Thursday, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said most of the patients are people who are not vaccinated.
The government said this suggests that the vaccination program will mitigate the effect of the Delta variant, urging the public to get both shots.
Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Safety Agency, said “two doses provide significantly more protection” against the Delta variant than one.
The UK reported 127,867 deaths from the virus, the highest number in Europe.
Under the government’s roadmap, England plans to drop the rules on numbers at social gatherings and allow major weddings and the reopening of nightclubs from 21 June.
But officials have insisted they are open to changing this date if the virus situation changes while many companies push for a complete reopening.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on Monday whether the expected lifting of the restrictions, which would see the end of social contact limits, can go ahead in time.
“We have to be very careful.” We had a very big opening on May 17 where people could meet friends at home, in a restaurant, in a pub, and even socialize at home, ”Nadhim Zahawi, COVID-19 vaccine minister, told Times Radio .
“And I think it’s important that we look at the data very carefully this weekend and then share it with the nation.”