THE Delta coronavirus variant that swept the UK has become dominant in Spain and could be attributed to the country’s recent spike in COVID cases.
Health officials have warned that further action is needed to slow its spread after it was confirmed the number of cases had soared by 15% over the last week.
The new strain, which first emerged in India, now accounts for the vast majority of the total coronavirus cases in Spain and is continuing to gain ground across the country.
Delta accounts for 71% sequenced cases in Spain this week, up from around 55% last week, according to the health ministry.
It comes as COVID-19 infections in Spain have almost quadrupled in two weeks, from around 3,500 new daily cases in late June to 13,400 currently. The virus is about 25 times as prevalent among people in their 20s than among people over 70, according to data from the Spanish Health Ministry.
Around 45.9% of Spain’s 38million adults are fully vaccinated and 59% have received at least one dose. These levels aren’t high enough to defeat the more contagious Delta variant as herd immunity would only be achieved with around 85% of the population vaccinated,
The threat of the Delta strain is putting pressure on the Spanish government to accelerate its vaccination campaign.
Health emergency chief Fernando Simon attempted to soothe fears on Monday, telling the press that there was ‘no evidence that the rapid spread of the Delta variant would threaten the government’s goal to have 70% of the population vaccinated by August’.
He said: “There is also no evidence that the expansion of this variant could jeopardise the goal.
“The current vaccines also cover this mutation.”
The WHO believes that the Delta variant will soon be the dominant strain in the world.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has warned that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is found in more than 104 countries.
He said: “The world is watching in real time as the virus continues to change and become more communicable. We continue to hear reports from all regions of the world about hospitals reaching capacity.
“The Delta variant is sweeping the world at a blazing rate, driving a new peak in cases and deaths from COVID-19.”
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