Delta variant causes new coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions across the world – .

Delta variant causes new coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions across the world – .

For many, the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic appear to be over: The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics are set to begin next month – but with security restrictions – countries have taken steps to try to restart their economies , and 3 billion doses of vaccines have been administered worldwide.
But the highly contagious Delta variant serves as a stark reminder of the relentless nature of a virus: to stay alive, it adapts and mutates.

The variant’s rapid spread around the world is forcing countries to once again take precautions such as reinstating lockdowns, travel restrictions, curfews and mask warrants, medical and government officials said.

The variant has been identified in at least 96 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

“It’s a reminder that an infection anywhere is potentially an infection everywhere,” UCLA epidemiologist Anne Rimoin said in a telephone interview this week.. “We are a global community, with constant interaction and travel, and when we see cases start to increase in one place in the world, it should be a stark reminder that we too could potentially be susceptible. “

For about a year and a half, the coronavirus killed more than 3.9 million people worldwide, including 605,000 deaths in the United States; and nearly 183 million infections, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University – and the official numbers are certainly a vast undercount. The Delta variant is believed to be more than twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus strains, and the WHO and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider it a “variant of concern.”

The Delta variant has already spawned a new offshoot, dubbed “Delta-plus” in India, which may have even more transmissibility. The world’s second most populous country has faced a deadly wave of COVID-19 infections this spring, recording millions of cases a day in March and April. India had recorded a total of nearly 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 30.4 million infections as of Thursday – official figures known to be particularly low compared to actual totals.

The Indian government urged all of its states to impose restrictions on coronaviruses on Monday. It also confirmed its current national COVID-19 guidelines, which include wearing masks, social distancing, banning the sale of alcohol and tobacco, and fines for people spitting in public.

Delta does not appear to pose a significant threat to those who have been fully vaccinated: A recent study by a UK government agency found that getting two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective in preventing the COVID-19 caused by the Delta Variant, while two doses of the AztraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective, Dr.Anthony Fauci said during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson both announced that their vaccines were effective in “neutralizing” Delta and other variants of concern.

But the variant “is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference last week.

More than half of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but in South Africa, which imposed strict new restrictions on coronaviruses as early as Monday due to the increase in cases caused by the variant Delta, less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The South African government has closed schools, imposed curfews, suspended alcohol sales and in-person meals, and banned all indoor and outdoor gatherings in response to the new outbreaks. Last month’s cases represent more than 15% of the country’s 1.9 million cases since the start of the pandemic.

“The real challenge with variants is global,” said Tom Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The United States and Europe have kept vaccines in the hope that there will be an increase in the vaccination rate and that they might be needed for boosters and so on. Bollyky said in an interview. “Variants change that conversation. There’s not as much of a rationale for not sharing them – now – in places where these variations are going to take off and have some pretty devastating consequences. “

Indonesia planned to launch emergency measures on Friday to curb its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic. The Southeast Asian nation and the world’s fourth most populous country has been ravaged by the Delta variant, which is believed to have spread after millions of Indonesians returned home to mark the end of Ramadan.

The number of new daily cases has exceeded 20,000, more than four times more than a month ago. Hospitals in the capital, Jakarta, are reportedly near full capacity, and there are growing fears that the country’s oxygen supply is being strained.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday announced lockdown measures on the islands of Java, home to 60% of Indonesia’s more than 275 million people, and Bali, the country’s top tourist destination. The restrictions include the closure of shopping malls, parks and places of worship. Restaurants will only be allowed to sell take-out food.

At least 58,995 Indonesians had died from COVID-19 as of Friday.

Australia, whose management of the coronavirus has been widely regarded as successful with less than 1,000 deaths throughout the pandemic, imposed several lockdowns as the Delta variant began to spread.

“The Delta variant is turning out to be a much more difficult part of this virus than anything we’ve seen to date,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Ben Dickinson is a resident of Perth, Australia, who entered custody on Tuesday. He said he was concerned that the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant could cause a long-term lockdown that the country has not seen since the early days of the pandemic, due to Australia’s low vaccination rate. ‘only about 11%.

“There are fears that we have a real epidemic as the rest of the world recovers from it,” Dickinson said.

He said the current lockdown gives the impression that the pandemic has “snatched defeat from the clutches of victory.”

Britain was supposed to lift its coronavirus restrictions on June 19, which included reopening businesses like nightclubs and theaters, as well as allowing more fans at events such than the Wimbledon tennis tournament. But five days before the restrictions ended, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed the date back a month. The Delta variant is responsible for almost all new cases in the country, according to scientists at Imperial College London.

Malaysia has also indefinitely delayed lifting its coronavirus restrictions, which was due to happen on Monday, according to public media Bernama.

Hong Kong, Germany and Taiwan are among the places that have placed new travel restrictions to and from countries such as the UK, Russia and Israel which have many cases involving the Delta variant.

The United States also faces concerns about the spread of the variant. From May 9 to 22, Delta accounted for less than 3% of genetically sequenced coronavirus samples across the country. But from June 6 to 19, that figure jumped to more than 20%, Fauci said.

“Overall we’re starting to see these restrictions on travel and daily living as this variant develops, and it’s not at all surprising,” Rimoin said.

Israel appeared to have the pandemic under control, recording less than 100 cases per day in early June. But on June 20, cases jumped to triple digits a day. Israel last week reinstated its indoor mask mandate and is keeping its borders closed to tourists.

Although some countries are reimposing coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, big events keep coming back and many parts of the world continue to reopen. The Spanish Prime Minister ad he lifted the country’s mask mandate on June 18. The NBA has welcomed fans for its playoff season, and the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23.

Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical officer for the WHO, told a recent press conference that world leaders should be wary of their plans to reopen.

“We are already starting to see some consequences of these events with increasing transmission again,” she said.

Times writer Tebor reported from Los Angeles. Times editors Emily Baumgaertner in Los Angeles and David Pierson in Singapore contributed to this report.


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