The Delta variant, also known as the Indian variant of the coronavirus, is estimated to be 40 per cent more transmissible than the variant originally identified in Britain, the UK Health Minister said on Sunday.
But Minister Matt Hancock said people who received both doses of the vaccine should be equally protected from any variant of the virus.
“This figure, about 40 percent more transmissible, is really the last data I received.”, he told Sky News.
The Delta variant is already the dominant variant in the UK, the Public Health Office in England has announced. In January, due to the spread of the British variant, also known as the Alpha variant, the United Kingdom imposed nationwide isolation measures.
Hancock said the figure of 40 per cent comes from analyzes carried out by a group of scientists advising the British Government. The spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus has raised concerns in Britain, a country that has planned to lift restrictive measures against the pandemic on June 21.
Hancock acknowledged that the government has not yet taken a final seat on lifting the restrictions, due to the Indian variant.
“We will look at the data for another week and then we will make the decision.” he told the BBC on Sunday, adding that the government is open to the possibility of postponing the deadline for lifting the restrictions.
However he said the two doses of the vaccine offer protection against the Delta variant.
According to the data, the UK has so far vaccinated over 27 million people with two doses of the vaccine – of which over 50 per cent are adults – and over 40 million people with a single dose of the vaccine. / REL