The Delta variant of coronavirus that originated in India has spread to 92 countries. Some of these nations are anticipating a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases and imposing tougher restrictions.
The World Health Organisation warned that the Delta variant is causing a surge in new cases from Indonesia to Russia. This week, the UN body registered the lowest number of cases globally since February, reported The Guardian.
The Delta variant is known to be highly contagious and fast-spreading. The hardest-hit country in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is seeing hospitals in the capital city Jakarta be overwhelmed. A new record high of 21,000 cases was reported.
In Africa, the cases have increased by 25% in the last week. The hardest-hit country of the continent South Africa said it is in "the exponential phase", said The Guardian report. Israel, despite being one of the highly vaccinated countries, has re-imposed a requirement to wear masks in enclosed public places after seeing a spike in Delta variant cases.
Many nations in the Asia-Pacific region are taking precautions to avoid a crisis. Thailand and Malaysia have also seen spikes in cases and imposed restrictions. Thailand on Sunday announced strict control on Bangkok restaurants, building sites, and gatherings.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a month-long, nationwide lockdown which may continue indefinitely until the situation is under control. Bangladesh is also imposing a nationwide lockdown from today.
On the other hand, Spain and the Netherlands have ended mandatory outdoor mask-wearing. Nightclubs were reopened and indoor dining restrictions were lifted. Belgium and Switzerland also have eased measures.
Several Spanish regions are recording 20% of Delta cases. Health officials are predicting a surge in the next 2-4 weeks.
Germany has declared Portugal a virus-variant zone and banned most arrivals from the region, reported The Guardian. German nationals and residents are allowed entry with the condition of mandatory two-week quarantine.
According to Portuguese authorities, 70% of the new cases in the Lisbon area are due to the Delta variant. Stricter rules have been imposed in the country. Only 30% of the Portugal population is vaccinated.
Experts are speculating the Delta variant to be a dominant strain in Greece by mid-August. Stricter local lockdowns are recommended in areas with low vaccination coverage.
After 110 Delta cases were reported in the country, Australia has shut down restaurants, bars, and cafes in Sydney. Over five million people are in a two-week lockdown. Another city, Darwin is also in a 48-hour lockdown after a remote goldmine experienced an outbreak.