THE Delta variant is now pummelling 85 countries, warns the World Health Organisation.
The “fitter and faster” mutation from India will become the dominant Covid strain across the globe, it adds.
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Britain has reported a steep rise in infections with the Delta variant.
And Germany’s top public health official predicted it would rapidly become the dominant strain there despite rising vaccination rates.
The Kremlin blamed a surge in Covid-19 cases on reluctance to have jabs and “nihilism” after record new infections in Moscow – mostly with the new Delta variant – fanned fears of a third wave.
It has also been detected in Fiji, Singapore and now Australia.
The Delta Covid strain is becoming the dominant variant of the disease worldwide, revealed WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan.
"The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its increased transmissibility," Swaminathan told a news conference.
Experts say the Delta variant spreads more easily because of mutations that make it better at latching onto cells in our bodies.
In the UK, the variant is now responsible for 90 per cent of all new infections.
Twenty-five areas have today been placed on a Delta variant watchlist in the UK – as Covid cases rise 20 per cent in a week.
In the US, it represents 20 per cent of Covid cases – and health officials fear it could become the country’s dominant type as well.
Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, warned the mutant is already spreading rapidly in Europe.
"Based on available scientific evidence, the Delta variant is more transmissible than other circulating variants.
"We estimate that by the end of August it will represent 90 per cent of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the European Union," he added.
Dr Ammon also said: "It is very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer, particularly among younger individuals that are not targeted for vaccination.
"This could cause a risk for the more vulnerable individuals to be infected and experience severe illness and death if they are not fully vaccinated.
"The good news is that having received two doses of any of the currently available vaccines provides high protection against this variant and its consequences."
Foreign Policy reports that with the highly transmissible strain now in "at least 85 countries", the need to jab more people worldwide is more urgent.
Studies have shown that the available vaccines work against variants, including the Delta strain.
Researchers in England have studied how effective the two-dose AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were against it, compared with the Alpha variant that was first detected in Kent.
The vaccines were protective for those who got both doses – but were less so among those who had just one dose.
It’s why experts say it’s important to be fully jabbed.
Public Health England reported this month:
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 per cent effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) after two doses
- The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses
The analysis probed 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This evidence of the effectiveness of two doses against variants shows just how crucial it is to get your second jab.
"If you have had your first dose but haven’t booked your second yet – please do so.
"It will help save lives and boost us on the road to recovery."
The advice comes as Brits were told today that they will be able to "shed" their masks from July 19.
Environment secretary George Eustice said No 10 is poised to remove all the remaining Covid legal restrictions on Freedom Day next month.
Ministers and scientists have said the latest data is "encouraging" and Britain is "on track" to leave lockdown as scheduled.
Mr Eustice said today: "What we want to do on July 19, and the the data looks good to be able to have that, and is to remove all of the legal restrictions."
His positive comments comes as Brits have been told to be aware of 21 symptoms of Covid.
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