Sweden sees ‘dark clouds’ with outbreaks of COVID delta variant

People wait for a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Stockholm, Sweden on April 16, 2021 at a nightclub that has been converted into a mass vaccination center. Carl-Olof Zimmerman / TT News Agency / via REUTERS / FILE PHOTO

Swedish health officials on Friday warned of worrying local outbreaks of the COVID delta variant and urged people to get vaccinated to avoid a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Sweden, a runaway in the fight against the pandemic with its no lockdown policy, saw a sharp drop in cases and hospital admissions last month after a surge in infections in the spring.

Almost half of the adult population received at least one vaccination, but the health authority warned that people who received only one vaccination were less protected against the Delta variant.

“There are some dark clouds on the horizon, and I am mainly thinking of outbreaks of the Delta variant. It occurs in Europe and also locally in Sweden,” said agency director general Johan Carlson at a press conference.

The delta variant, identified for the first time in India, is 60% more transmissible by British epidemiologists than the alpha variant previously prevalent in Great Britain, partly because vaccines are less effective against it. L5N2NR40Y

So far, only 71 cases of the variant have been confirmed in Sweden, but this has led the agency to step up contact tracing. The delta variant accounts for around 90% of new cases in the UK.

On Thursday, Sweden reported 831 new cases and three deaths. The total death toll of more than 14,500 was higher than other Nordic countries but lower than most European countries that have opted for bans.

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