With the emergence and spread of the new coronavirus mutant strain Delta (Delta) in 85 countries worldwide, many countries have extended or reimposed restrictions in response to waves of new infections.
According to AFP, the New Coronavirus outbreak has killed nearly 4 million people worldwide since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in early 2020. Recently, infection rates have fallen dramatically following mass vaccination against the new coronavirus in many countries. However, Delta, the most contagious strain of the new coronavirus currently described by the WHO, continues to cause concern in various countries.
Russia has been experiencing a surge in infections caused by the Delta mutant strain since mid-June and is now dealing with a third wave of the new coronavirus outbreak. Moscow, the capital, recorded 144 deaths from the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours on Sunday, the worst single-day death record for a Russian city. The day before, St. Petersburg recorded the highest number of single-day deaths.
In Australia in the Asia-Pacific region, Sydney’s 5 million residents entered a two-week precautionary closure Sunday to contain an outbreak brought on by the Delta strain. Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments closed, residents were ordered to quarantine their homes and the city center became a nearly empty city.
Since the first case of Delta strain infection was detected in mid-June, 110 cases have been identified in Australia. This is a “shock” to Australia, which has long since returned to normal daily life.
Thailand re-imposed restrictions on restaurants, construction sites and gatherings in the capital from Monday (June 28) to contain a new wave of infections. Thailand’s latest outbreak was triggered by the emergence of a new infection in some of Bangkok’s upscale clubs in April this year.
In Malaysia, authorities have announced that the nationwide precautionary closure, which has been in place for a month, will continue, and no timetable has been given for its lifting.
The Associated Press reported that Britain recorded its highest single-day infection figure since Feb. 5 on Saturday (June 26), with 18,270 people infected nationwide, and nearly 100,000 infections in a week, a jump of nearly 50 percent from the previous week. The new wave of outbreaks has also raised doubts about whether British authorities can lift the precautionary closure as planned. The government has extended the closure, which was scheduled to end last Monday, until July 19. Similar plans are being implemented in other parts of the U.K. in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Media reports said scientists believe the Delta mutant strain, which was first identified in India, is 40 to 80 percent more infectious than the original new coronavirus strain. Almost all new infections in the U.K. are caused by the Delta strain, and most occur in younger groups who remain unvaccinated.
As of Saturday, two-thirds of the U.K. population had received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 48 percent had completed two doses.
In addition, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is coordinating Britain’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak, resigned Saturday under outside pressure. A day before, a newspaper published a photo of him hugging an aide tightly. Hancock, 42, initially refused to resign, but was forced to do so amid media condemnation of the hypocrisy of the political elite’s double standards.
Reuters reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people on Sunday (June 27) to overcome their hesitation and get vaccinated as early as possible after a highly contagious strain of Delta was found in some Indian states. The number of infections in India has now fallen back from a peak of 400,000 per day in May. The government is also stepping up efforts to vaccinate the nation’s 940 million adults as soon as possible to stem the feared third wave of a massive outbreak.