‘Delta’ variant behind the renewed spread of COVID in England, suggests the ONS
The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England nearly doubled in the last week of May, as the ‘delta’ variant of COVID-19 first detected in India likely became the most prevalent, reports showed on Friday. official estimates.
The Office for National Statistics said about 1 in 640 people in England had COVID-19 in the week ending May 29, up from 1 in 1,120 a week earlier, marking the highest proportion since first half of April.
The estimates – based on samples of the population – also suggested that the UK variant of COVID was no longer the dominant strain in England.
“During the week ending May 29, 2021, we saw an increase in cases in England that are not compatible with the UK variant… this is probably the variant… first identified in India”, the ONS said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he would exercise caution in lifting restrictions on coronaviruses as it remains unclear how well the population would be protected against a new wave of COVID-19 cases if the lockdown ended as planned later this month.
The delta variant is believed to spread faster than the previously dominant UK variant, although experts say the vaccines still offer protection against serious illness.
Last month, Public Health England said two injections of the COVID-19 vaccine were almost as effective against the delta variant as against the UK variant.
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