Europe is racing to vaccinate people, particularly the young, as fears mount that the Delta variant may crash across the continent.
French region Landes, a favourite with surfers, has delayed lifting restrictions until July 6 because of a high number of Delta infections.
“We do not want to take the risk of having a re-start of the epidemic. We have all the cards in hand to avoid a fourth wave of the epidemic” said Gabriel Attal, a French government spokesman, said on June 30.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said last week that the Delta variant is likely to account for 90 per cent of all cases in the EU by the end of August.
In Germany, Delta accounts for 15 per cent of all Covid cases and the rate of infection is doubling by the week.
Italy also fears the Delta variant will become dominant and Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has expressed concerns that the EURO 2020 final is being held in Wembley given the UK’s problem with the variant.
Anna Teresa Palamara, an Italian epidemiologist, said, “Our epidemiological monitoring shows a rapidly evolving picture that confirms that also in our country, as in the rest of Europe, the delta variant of the virus is becoming dominant.”
Earlier this week, Spain saw rises in its 14-day cumulative caseload over 100 per 100,000 inhabitants in some regions. Young people who have not yet been vaccinated appear particularly vulnerable with cases rising to above 250 per 100,000 for people in their 20s.
However, health experts have sought to play down the risks.
“The delta variant may occupy more space but this uptick in cases is not associated with it – maybe in localised cases, but not nationally. It is in the groups who haven’t been vaccinated that we are seeing a real rise in transmission. All vaccinated groups are maintaining the downward trend,” said Fernando Simon, director of Spain’s health emergency centre.
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check The Euro Weekly News for all your up-to-date local and international news stories.