London: Has the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the UK?
According to a senior health expert, UK is experiencing a third wave of coronavirus infections driven by the Delta variant, which was first detected in India.
According to Prof. Adam Finn, advisor on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI), UK will witness a race against time vis-à-vis vaccination and the highly transmissible Delta variant of the deadly virus, PTI reported.
For the first time in almost four months, UK recorded five-figure — 11,007 to be precise — fresh COVID-positive cases on Friday, thanks to the emergence of Delta variant.
Prof. Finn pointed out the rise in cases, although at a slower pace.
“It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic that it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up… so this third wave is definitely underway,” he observed.
Though UK has been doing well with its vaccination process, Prof. Finn feels the rest of the population will have to be inoculated fast against the deadly virus to prevent spike in infection and deaths.
“We can conclude that the race is firmly on between the vaccine programme, particularly getting older people’s second doses done, and the Delta variant third wave,” he said.
That the government is worried about the Delta variant and rising cases is clear from the fact that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had said he would announce lifting of remaining COVID-induced restrictions this month, has been forced to delay the opening-up plan.
Britain, which recorded almost 128,000 coronavirus deaths — highest among European nations – has vaccinated 8 in 10 adults with the first dose and more than half with the second dose.
Prof. Finn, however, is not confident about the vaccines being effective against Delta variant.
“No, I don’t feel confident, but I think there’s some ground for optimism. The latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures continue to show a rise, but that rise has not accelerated quite as much as I’d feared over the last week,” he said.