French police walk down the street during the French Midsummer Music Festival on June 21, 2021 in Paris, France.
Rafael Yaqbazadeh | Getty Images-Entertainment | Getty Images
LONDON – The delta strain of coronavirus, first discovered in India, has now spread across the world, triggering further waves of infection in countries such as the United Kingdom.
There are now more and more signs that the number of cases is increasing rapidly in mainland Europe as well.
The EU is certainly concerned about the spread of the highly infectious delta variant, which evidence suggests is about 60% more transmissible than the alpha variant first detected in England, leading to more hospitalizations and To some extent, the efficacy of vaccines is increasing.
Several European countries have imposed additional restrictions on those arriving from the UK, but experts believe it is only a matter of time before it starts in mainland Europe – and signs are already strong.
On Tuesday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the delta variant now accounts for about 20% of Covid-19 cases in France, compared with last week’s estimate of 9-10% of cases.
The German public health authority Robert Koch Institute said this week that the delta version had about 36% of cases in the week of June 15-20, a 15% increase from the previous week. Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday that RKI chief Lothar Wheeler also told officials that surrogates already represented more than 50% of cases recorded in Germany.
Meanwhile, Italy’s National Institute of Health said on Friday that there has been an increase in the number of cases in Italy attributed to the delta and kappa variants (an “interesting variant,” according to the WHO, related to the delta variant) in Italy over the past month. . About 17% of all covid cases.
Spain and Portugal also reported an increase in cases of the delta variant, as did Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey. In addition, a delta plus variant – a delta mutation – has also been detected in parts of Europe.
Read more: There’s a New Mutation in the Delta Covid Version Called ‘Delta Plus’: Here’s What You Need to Know
Germany and France are among countries that have imposed quarantine restrictions on British travellers, and Berlin has gone a step further, calling for a united approach when it comes to British travelers arriving in the EU. is invoked.
Experts note that this step is probably too little, too late.
“I suspect that European countries with open economies and more restricted border controls, quarantine measures, tracing and tracing could push the delta back in the long run … especially given that there is already widespread domestic circulation,” Tom Winsler said, a development. Biologists and biostatisticians at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium told CNBC on Tuesday.
He said the actual number of infections from the delta variant in Europe could be much higher than current estimates.
“I estimate that 90% of cases now diagnosed in Portugal may have a delta, but with a strong geographic focus around Lisbon. Many other countries in Europe such as Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Netherlands also lag behind. It is estimated that more than 50% of all cases now diagnosed are deltas.”
Experts agree that the delta variant now accounts for 95% of all new serial cases in the UK, and the US and Europe are likely to follow wherever the UK goes. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said last week that it estimated that by the end of August, the delta variant would be responsible for 90% of all COVID-19 circulating in the EU.
If countries in Europe can deploy vaccines fast enough, COVID vaccination programs can save lives. A study conducted by Public Health England in May showed that receiving two doses of COVID vaccines developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Pfizer-BioNTech (the most widely used vaccine in Europe) protected against the delta variant. Provides effective protection. Both vaccines were significantly less effective after just one injection.
As such, there is now a race to fully vaccinate millions of people in Europe, and especially young people, who were the last to receive the COVID shot. Data from England again shows that the young, the illiterate, over 50 and those who have received only one dose of the COVID vaccine are most likely to have the delta type.
KU Leuven’s Wenseleers agreed that “vaccinating at full speed and asking people in particularly vulnerable groups to be vigilant are now perhaps the most important options for the EU”, although extensive border controls and tracking and tracing could help. . Time, he said, has gone ahead with the vaccination campaign, which will help prevent a re-emergence.
Concerns have already started in the European Union over the prospects for a summer tourist season and whether the British and others will be allowed in the region, especially as some EU countries, such as Greece and Portugal, have increased tourism to their own. an important part of the economies.
How a potential new wave of infections like Delta could affect the broader economy and reopen the sector is not yet known, but economists are monitoring it closely.
“The delta wave is on the rise,” Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmeeding said in a note on Wednesday. “After a delay of nearly seven weeks in the UK, registered SARS-CoV-2 infections in the euro area have begun to rise amid wide regional disparities.”
Evaluate whether the “new wave” Berenberg. puts expectations above consensus for growth in the eurozone and the UK which are at risk (this year’s GDP growth forecast at 4.7% in the eurozone and 7% in the UK), Schmiding thinks the outlook is too high. will not be affected.
“Thanks to rapid advances in vaccination, we do not see the likelihood that the medical system in the UK or on the mainland will again come under such apparent pressure that severe new restrictions on economic activity can once again control medical risks. Risks must be closely monitored.”
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