India’s health ministry on Monday reported 100,636 new COVID-19 infections, the lowest tally in 61 days, and 2,427 deaths in the previous 24-hour period.
Sunday, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said the delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, may be up to 40% more transmissible than the alpha variant.
The delta variant has become the dominant strain in Britain, replacing the so-called alpha variant first identified in Kent, Hancock told reporters. It is possible the delta variant could threaten plans to lift lockdown restrictions by June 21, he said.
Hancock stressed the importance of Britons getting their vaccinations. Early data show the vaccine is effective against the delta variant after people have received both doses, he said.
Currently, 40% of the United Kingdom’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. New cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, have dropped dramatically since the United Kingdom began its vaccination campaign.
The delta variant has also surfaced in China's Guangdong province which is struggling to contain its spread. On June 6, local health officials said four new cases have taken the province’s total recorded cases to 94 since May 21.
The province has also ramped up infection-control measures that came into effect Monday. They include for travelers to be able to show a "green health code" on their phones for 72 hours before any travel by air or train.
Monday is also the first day of Chinese college entrance exams. In Guangdong, all test takers had to submit to COVID-19 testing 14 days prior to the exams. Special areas for exam-taking were set aside for students who were suspected of being coronavirus carriers.
Local health authorities have called on people to stay put and get tested.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Dr. Richina Bicette, an associate medical director at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told CNN that children should be inoculated with the COVID vaccine. “As adults get vaccinated and become more protected and immune, the virus is still in the community looking for a vulnerable host and pediatric patients fit that description,” Bicette said.
The global count of COVID-19 cases has reached 173.3 million early Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The U.S. leads the world in the COVID caseload with 33.3 million infections, followed by India with 29 million and Brazil with 17 million.