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Latest: Variant may delay lockdown lift, says UK official


UK health secretary says delta variant 40% more permeable than country’s current strains

LONDON – Britain’s health secretary says the delta variant, which is fast becoming the dominant coronavirus variant in the UK, is 40% more transmissible than the country’s current strains.

Matt Hancock acknowledged on Sunday that a surge in delta-type cases could delay the government’s plan to lift the remaining lockdown restrictions on June 21. He also said he would not rule out continued measures such as face masks in public settings and working from home where possible. .

Optimism that Britain could make its way out of the pandemic has dented in recent weeks with growing concern that infections are rising again, fueled by the delta version. More than 12,400 cases of the delta variant have been confirmed in the UK so far

The country recorded 6,238 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest since the end of March. On Saturday, this figure came down to 5,765.

Officials said on Sunday they would begin offering a COVID-19 vaccine to people under the age of 30 from this week in hopes that the vaccine program could help combat a renewed rise in infections.

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More on the pandemic:

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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Here’s what else is happening:

PARIS – French health officials are rushing to contain scattered cases of the more contagious delta virus variant, as the country prepares to reopen its borders to vaccinated visitors and prevent COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Celebrates a fall in the rate of

Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Sunday that France has several clusters of the variant, which were first identified in India, particularly in the south-west Landes region. Speaking on BFM television, Veran said the variant was not widely spread in the community and health investigators are working to trace the cases and prevent their spread.

The delta version is now a staple in the UK, and its spread has prompted France and some other countries to impose new restrictions on visitors to the UK.

Overall, Veran stressed, “the pandemic situation across the country continues to improve.”

The latest weekly epidemiological report from France’s Public Health Agency shows a steady and sustained decline in virus infections, hospitalization rates and deaths even after France began reopening schools, shops and restaurants last month . More than half the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, and about a quarter are fully vaccinated.

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HONOLULU — A review of Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s emails shows the state’s epidemiologist spent critical weeks in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic resisting suggestions and requests for contact tracing to control the spread of COVID-19 give rise to.

He showed Dr. Sarah Park repeatedly telling his superiors that the state’s failure to adequately finance the division he led was preventing him from expanding his work to respond to the crisis.

The Associated Press received emails last month in response to a May 2020 request submitted under Hawaii’s open records law.

Contact tracing was particularly difficult for many states. The purpose of this effort is to alert people who have come in contact with a person and prevent them from getting infected with the corona virus. Health experts say this is the key to controlling the virus.

Governor’s records show that University of Hawaii President David Lesnar emailed administration officials on April 16, 2020, to say university researchers need to promote contact tracing and control COVID-19. Wrote a report about other steps to take.

Park did not outright reject more contact tracing, but replied: “I am increasingly upset that people think contact tracing is somehow easily accomplished as a simple task when it comes to applied epidemiology.” It’s a part of the practice.”

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