The variant first identified in India currently accounts for over 90% of new COVID-19 cases in Britain.
British health authorities have said the new variant of the Delta coronavirus is 60% more transmissible in households than the previous dominant Alpha variant which forced the UK to shut down in January.
The Delta variant, which first appeared in India, has caused an increase in cases in Britain, raising questions as to whether physical distancing restrictions will be lifted as planned from June 21.
New research from Public Health England on Friday “suggests that the Delta variant is associated with an increased risk of domestic transmission of about 60%” compared to the Alpha variant first identified in south-east England .
So far, there have been 42,323 identified cases of the Delta variant in the UK, according to data from Public Health England, up from 29,892 on June 2. The variant currently accounts for over 90% of new COVID-19 cases.
The Alpha variant caused a surge of COVID-19 cases in January ahead of a mass vaccination campaign, resulting in a three-month lockdown as hospitals were nearly exhausted.
The government has since stepped up its vaccination campaign and has now administered nearly 41 million first doses and nearly 29 million second 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 cases are rising again, with new daily infections reaching 7,393 on Thursday, a level not seen since February. More than 90% of the new cases were of the Delta variant, the government said.
However, the number of inpatients remains low, at just over 1,000 on Thursday, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said most inpatients were unvaccinated people.
The government said this suggests that the vaccination program is mitigating the effect of the Delta variant, urging the public to obtain both vaccines.
Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said that “two doses offer significantly greater protection” against the Delta variant than just one.
The UK has reported 127,867 deaths from the virus, the highest death toll in Europe.
As part of the government’s roadmap, England plans to drop rules on the number of social gatherings and allow large weddings and the reopening of nightclubs from June 21.
But officials have stressed they are willing to change that date if the virus situation changes, as many companies are calling for a full reopening.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether the planned lifting of restrictions, which would end limits on social contact, can be completed on time.
“We have to be very careful. We had a very grand opening on May 17 where people could meet friends indoors, in a restaurant, in a pub, and socialize indoors as well, ”vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told Times Radio. COVID-19.
“And I think it’s important that we take a very careful look at the data this weekend and then share it with the nation.”