The variant of the virus originally discovered in India and now named Delta is 40 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant that caused the last outbreak in the U.K., U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today.
Matt Hancock said people who receive both doses of the vaccine should be equally protected from either variant of the virus.
Hancock told Sky News (UK), “That number, about 40 percent higher (than Alpha mutated virus) transmission rate, is the most recent report I’ve received.”
The Delta variant, known as the Indian variant, is now the leading strain in the U.K., according to Public Health England.
The Alpha variant, initially known as Kent variant virus, forced the U.K. to seal the city in January.
Hancock said the 40 percent figure came from the government’s scientific advisory body, the Science and Technology Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
The British public is increasingly concerned about whether the emergence of the Delta variant of the virus will threaten the government’s June 21 interim deadline for lifting restrictions on the outbreak.
Hancock acknowledged that the Delta mutant virus “does make the projection of June 21 (lifting the ban) more difficult.
He told the BBC today, “We will look at the data for another week and then make a judgment.” He stressed that the government is “absolutely open” to a delay in lifting the restrictions.