Delta puts brakes on return to post-Covid normalcy globally


PARIS: Nations across the globe hit new pandemic highs and reimposed Covid curbs on Saturday as the highly contagious Delta variant forced governments to put the brakes on plans to return to normality.
The EU — lambasted earlier for a botched vaccine acquisition programme — said on Saturday it has delivered enough shots to cover 70% of the bloc’s population. After an “exponential” rise in cases in recent days, officials in the Spanish region of Catalonia said they had no choice but to reimpose restrictions. Also set to reimpose curbs on Saturday is the Netherlands, where infections rose sevenfold in one week, a surge officials have blamed on the Delta variant.
Britain on Friday said there had been 54,268 new cases of the Delta variant in the week to July 7, a rise on the 50,824 new cases reported the previous week. The total number of cases of the variant reported was 216,249, a 32% increase from last week. Public Health England said its weekly analysis shows the continued rise in infections is not followed by a similar increase in hospitalisations and deaths, which reflects a high protection offered by both doses of a vaccine.
CNN reported on Saturday that the US has surpassed 20,000 new cases for the fourth day in a row as the Delta variant continued to be the most common variant in the US.
Supply shortages in South Korea have meant only about 11% of the country’s 52 million population is fully vaccinated, authorities said. The nation reported 1,378 new cases on Saturday, a third straight record high. From Monday, gatherings of over two people will be banned after 6:00pm, schools, bars and clubs will be closed.
Deaths in Russia have hit another daily record, with officials reporting 752 more fatalities. The taskforce on Saturday reported 25,082 new cases. Officials have attributed a rise in cases and mortality to the spread of the Delta variant.


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