Delta variant: UK sees 35,204 more cases in the past week as rate of growth slows

·3 min read
Pedestrians wearing a face mask walk along Oxford Street  (AFP via Getty Images)
Pedestrians wearing a face mask walk along Oxford Street (AFP via Getty Images)

Some 35,204 new cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 have been detected in the past week, Public Health England announced on Friday.

The number of UK cases of the variant first discovered in India has increased by 46 per cent over seven days to reach a total of 111,157 cases.

This is an additional 35,204 cases on the previous week, showing the rate of acceleration is slowing. The previous week’s increase was 80 per cent.

There have been a total of 117 deaths from the Delta variant, up from the 73 reported last week.

The majority of the cases have been in unvaccinated people. Only 80 people who had received two doses required an overnight stay in hospital.

In London, Lambeth has recorded the greatest number of Delta variant cases, a total of 864. A surge in testing to tackle the outbreak was launched in the borough earlier this week.

Croydon had the second highest number of Delta cases detected (844), followed by 791 in Tower Hamlets, 776 in Wandsworth, 721 in Ealing, 689 in Brent and 627 in Hillingdon.

Public Health England said an additional 514 people were admitted to hospital in England with a diagnosis of Covid-19 in the week to Monday, June 21. Of these, 304 were unvaccinated.

The extent of the Delta variant in the UK - it is now believed to be accounting for around 90 per cent of new cases - is posing a threat to the hopes of holidaymakers seeking a week in the sun this summer.

There are fears of potential new EU-wide restrictions on travellers from the UK over concerns about the spread of the Delta variant just as cases on the continent are coming down.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been pressing EU leaders meeting in Brussels to impose stringent quarantine requirements on arrivals to the bloc from Britain.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast on Friday: "I think it is understandable if you are in Germany - I heard what the chancellor said yesterday - and you have yet to reach the level of vaccination that we have seen here or in Malta, that you're going to be more concerned.

"That may be just a question of waiting for their vaccination programme."

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Sky News that the UK poses more of a risk to some other countries at the moment than the other way round.

He said: "I think these islands, where they've been added to the green list, have been added because there are very low, almost absent levels of virus there, so they pose very limited risk to the UK, particularly if people coming back are being tested on the way.

"So I think the risk actually is greater for those places - that people coming from this country at this point in time may take the virus with them and infect other people there, but of course that decision lies with them and these are countries that depend on tourism income for their livelihood."

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