head 3

COVID-19 Delta variant: ECDC warns against easing restrictions in EU countries

DUBLIN: Concerns that the spread of Delta variant of COVID-19 could adversely affect Ireland’s reopening plan. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warns that further easing of restrictions could result in a significant new surge of COVID-19 this autumn.

The European Union’s disease control agency also urged countries to move forward with vaccination programs as soon as possible. The warning comes as Ireland prepares to ease restrictions on many indoor activities from July 5.

The agency said the Delta variant would account for 90% of new cases in the EU in the coming months. “It is very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer, particularly among younger individuals that are not targeted for vaccination,” Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, said.

Delta variant spread will intensify by the end of August

Andrea Ammon said that the Delta variant, which spreads faster than other COVID-19 variants, will account for 90% of new cases in the EU by the end of August. The chief medical officer had pointed out that 20% of new cases in Republic last week were of the Delta variant, whereas this number is 50% in Northern Ireland.

According to the ECDC, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is 40 to 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), which was first discovered in the UK. The ECDC also cited a Public Health Scotland study that found Delta strain increases hospital admissions. To counteract this, the ECDC said that it is important to move on with vaccine roll-out at a rapid speed.

Vaccine uptake levels are higher in Ireland

According to the ECDS, 30% of people over the age of 80 and 40% of people over the age of 60 in the EU have not yet been fully vaccinated.

Vaccine uptake levels are higher in Ireland than in some EU countries. More than 3.45 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered in Ireland. More than 2.3 million people were given the first dose, which equates to 58.8% of the population. About 1.2 million people have been fully vaccinated, equivalent to 30.7% of the population.

“At this stage it becomes crucial that the second vaccination dose is administered within the minimum authorised interval from the first dose, to speed up the rate at which vulnerable individuals become protected,” Ammon said. Ireland reduced the dose interval of AstraZeneca vaccine from three months to two.

Be cautious – ECDC warns

The ECDC also urged countries to be cautious about easing restrictions in order to limit the spread of variants.

“Any relaxation over the summer months of the stringency of non-pharmaceutical measures that were in place in the EU/EEA in early June could lead to a fast and significant increase in daily cases in all age groups,” the ECDC said.

The agency warned that if no extra measures are taken, this increase might lead to an increase in hospitalisations and deaths, potentially reaching the same levels as in the autumn of 2020.

Kindly click the link below to join WhatsApp group chat to get important news and breaking news from Irish Samachar


Comments are closed.