Covid-19: UK says Delta variant 60 per cent more transmissible
New variant prompts questions about whether social distancing restrictions will be lifted
The British government said Friday that the new Delta coronavirus variant is 60 percent more transmissible in households than the variant that forced the UK to lock down in January.
The Delta variant, which first emerged in India, has caused a rise in cases in Britain, prompting questions about whether social distancing restrictions will be lifted as planned from June 21.
New research from Public Health England "suggests that the Delta variant is associated with an approximately 60 percent increased risk of household transmission" compared to the Alpha variant first identified in southeast England.
So far there have been 42,323 identified cases of the Delta variant in the UK, according to Public Health England's data, up from 29,892 on June 2.
The Alpha variant caused a surge of Covid cases in January before a mass vaccine campaign, leading to a three-month lockdown as hospitals were stretched to near-capacity.
The government has since ramped up its vaccine drive, and has now administered nearly 41 million first doses and nearly 29 million second doses to adults over 25.
This means 43 percent of the total population are fully vaccinated and 18 percent are half vaccinated.
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