British authorities are resorting to exceptional measures to halt the progress of the B.1.617.2 variant, which was initially identified in India, and to protect its plan to loosen the restrictions overall. The Army distributes pamphlets and quizzes for home-to-home personal use in Bolton. The National Rugby Stadium in Twickenham has been converted into an immediate vaccination center for residents of London’s Hounslow neighborhood.
The government faces complicated decisions in the coming days. Transportation Minister Grant Shaps will announce early next week whether tourist trips to the islands are permitted without the need for checks or quarantines. The decision will have a direct impact on the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. But the minister wants additional data on the systems in place at those destinations for genome identification.
With a number of vaccinations now equal to the total size of the UK population and with more than 25 million residents receiving the second dose, the level of protection for UK travelers is high, but it will not prevent the import of the infection. Another challenge, according to Shapps, is to avoid the arrival of new variants.
Of the new infections in the UK are caused by the Indian ancestor, with a high level of transmission between close contacts, around 13.5%.
- More hospitalizations, less deaths.
The daily number of hospitalizations registered last week (133 Monday) was the highest in May. The number of deceased remains at a minimum. Since the end of last March, the number of injuries has not increased, as on Sunday, it reached 3,240.
Several scientists appeared in radio and television studies over the weekend and Monday is also a holiday, to warn that this may be the start of a third wave of the epidemic in the United Kingdom. They ask the government to be cautious about easing restrictions, and in some cases, assert that with current data, it would be reasonable to delay the decision for several weeks.
Change of address
A total of 3,240 cases were recorded on Sunday, which is lower than the day of the week (last Wednesday it was 3,757). This figure is benign compared to some European countries, but it indicates a significant change in course in the past two months. Since the end of March and the beginning of April, when the second wave, which peaked on January 8, these figures have not been given, which in the first half of May did not usually reach 2000 cases.
The daily number of hospitalizations, 133 on Monday, was the highest in May; The number of deaths, 6 recorded on Sunday, remains at the lower end of the epidemic curve. The question that the data must answer in the coming days is whether the increase in infections will lead to a new critical situation, in a new context of intensive vaccination and a more efficient and accessible testing regime.
58% of recent infections are caused by the Indian ancestor. A secondary attack rate (percentage of infected people in close contact with an infected person) is about 13.5%, higher than the English or Kentish variant, 8.1%, causing a second wave in the UK before it spread to European countries. For now, the virus is concentrated in local hotspots, as the government is making its efforts. It also issued recommendations to isolate them, except in cases of need.
The World Health Organization will name the virus variants in Greek letters
Remembering the scientific names of the covid-19 variants, for example B.1.617, B.1.1.7 or B.1.351, is very difficult, but the World Health Organization (WHO) will simplify things by giving them Greek names as well as letters. The World Health Organization said the idea is to have names that are “easy to pronounce and remember,” but also to avoid the general public and the press using names that are “stigmatized and distinguished.” Thus, the variable B.1.1.7, previously defined in the UK, is called Alpha; B.1.351 was first identified in South Africa, and is Beta, and the P.1 variant, detected in Brazil, is Gamma. Two different names are also given to the sub-variants B.1.617 which devastated India and spread to other countries: B.1.617.2 is Delta and B.1.617.1 is Kappa.
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