Covid Delta variant ‘around 40% more transmissible’, says Matt Hancock | Coronavirus
The new Delta variant of the coronavirus appears to be around 40% more transmissible than the variant it has largely replaced, said Matt Hancock, making government decisions to ease restrictions in England on June 21 “more difficult”.
Saying that those under 30 will be called upon to start vaccinations from next week, the health secretary confirmed that there is still a possibility that the reopening program will be delayed or that certain rules will be maintained.
“We are considering all the options,” he told Sky News.
The transmissibility of the Delta variant, first identified in India, was seen as a central factor in decisions on whether or not to remove most of the remaining restrictions in England in a fortnight, with the decision to be made later this week.
It is estimated that the Delta variant could be between 30% and 100% more transmissible than the so-called Alpha variant first identified in Kent. But asked for the latest information, Hancock gave a figure of 40%.
“This means that it is more difficult to manage this virus with the new Delta variant,” he said. “Most importantly, after two doses of the vaccine, we are confident that you get the same protection you had with the old variant. So the good news is that the vaccine still works just as well. “
It was, he said, still too early to decide what might happen on June 21: “The Prime Minister, I and the team will be looking at all the data this week … The bottom line is to see if the four tests that we have defined have been achieved.