If even China is admitting to outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and imposing travel restrictions, then maybe there’s a reason why it’s causing concern in governments around the world.
“Cluster outbreaks have occurred one after another around the country and multiple cases have been reported in Beijing, leading to a critical phase in our epidemic response,” said Pang Xinghuo, the deputy director of Beijing’s Center for Disease Prevention and Control in a Bloomberg News report.
In the United States, which still hasn’t reopened its land border to Canadian travellers, the Delta variant is fueling a new surge of infections among the unvaccinated. Florida is especially hard hit with the southern state recording 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on July 31, breaking its previous record of 19,334 cases reported on January 7. The state also broke its record for hospitalizations from COVID.
“The silver lining of this is that people are waking up to this and this may be a tipping point for those who have been hesitant (to be vaccinated),” National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told CNN on Sunday. “That’s what desperately needs to happen if we’re going to get this Delta variant put back in its place, because right now it’s having a pretty big party in the middle of the country.”
According to a CBC News report explaining the rise of the Delta variant, there are growing signs that Canada will see a surge of new COVID-19 cases. The main reason is that despite nearly six in 10 Canadians being fully vaccinated, millions remain unprotected.
The CBC report states that most experts believe that Canada will still avoid the most the hospitalizations and death toll of earlier waves.
The situation is similar in Germany where, like many countries, vaccination efforts have stalled, leaving a large pool of unvaccinated people for the Delta strain to circulate and potentially mutate into new, potentially more virulent strains.
With just 51.5 per cent of Germans fully vaccinated, authorities are coming up with creative ways to encourage the skeptical to get the jab, reported the Associated Press, including one vaccination center which was offering a free bratwurst with every shot.
The country has imposed a new requirement for unvaccinated travellers who enter the country by road or rail that was previously only required for airport arrivals. They must now submit negative PCR tests in an effort to slow the introduction of more cases of the Delta strain which is now the most dominant in the country and in the rest of Europe.
While the travel industry in the U.S. doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the rise of the Delta variant, many American travellers are definitely concerned.
According to a tracking study of American travellers, a quarter are postponing travel because of the recent increased spread of the Delta variant.
Internet searches by travellers show a marked rise in interest in the new variant and how it will affect their vacations and for advice on how to travel during this latest surge.
If you’re looking for a safe destination, try the South Pacific where there is a short list of countries that have avoided COVID-19, that is until infected visitors start showing up with the new strain.