Alarm in the United Kingdom, where cases and hospitalizations caused by Covid are rising again. The alert is linked to the spread of the Indian variant, also known as the Delta variant, highly transmissible and which, according to Public Health England (PHE) officials, has become the dominant one, overtaking the English variant. And now the program of gradual reopening could suffer a slowdown: the roadmap would foresee the end of the third and final “block” for June 21, with the abolition of the limits to social contacts, meetings, weddings, funerals, and there should also be the reopening of nightclubs. Contingency plans that have been drawn up in Whitehall include postponing the final phase to July. And now, with the increase in infections and hospitalizations, the postponement could become concrete.
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Yesterday, 6,328 new infections from Covid-19 were recorded, the highest number since 25 March. There were 11 deaths, while 954 people are currently hospitalized for coronavirus. Health Minister Matt Hancock commented that the government “has always expected an increase in cases with the relaxation of the rules”, but stressed that the data to observe “carefully” is that of hospital admissions. Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign continues: at the moment 66,749,638 doses of the vaccine have been administered. This is 39,949,694 first doses, with 26,799,944 people also receiving the second.
Despite a mammoth and fast-paced campaign, with the administration of the vaccine against Covid-19 to more than half of the adult population, in recent days the infections and the number of hospitalizations have returned to rise. A short time ago, zero deaths had been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, but now the contagion curve has started to grow again: yesterday, 5,274 new cases and 18 deaths were recorded. The number of hospitalizations is also growing, and this is one of the most worrying aspects. The Indian variant currently accounts for 75 percent of new coronavirus cases. Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, said there has been an “exponential growth” of infections. Gupta’s main fear is that, with the vaccination campaign, a situation of “false security could be created that would lead to ignoring the restriction measures and facilitating infections”.
Meanwhile, the British Bureau of Statistics (Ons) estimates that the level of infections in England has grown by 75% in one week, with 85,600 people with Covid in the week until May 29, compared to 48,500 the previous week. Here are the data that are worrying: according to the Office for National Statistics, about one in 640 people in families had Covid in the week until May 29. This is an increase compared to the previous week, when one in 1,120 people became infected. A new report published by the British national health system also speaks of 12,431 Delta variant cases identified, compared to 6,959 in the last bulletin released a week ago.
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