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Between 2 - 4% of positive Covid tests in France show Delta variant

France’s health minister said that even though the number is small, the UK, where the Delta variant is now dominant, was in the same situation just a few weeks ago

A scientist holding a vial containing a 'Covid variant'

A recent UK study has shown Covid-19 vaccines to be very effective against the Delta variant. France has fully vaccinated over 15.5million people against Covid-19. Pic: Cryptographer / Shutterstock

There are around 50 to 150 new cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 being detected each day in France, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran said today (June 15). 

He said between 2% and 4% of the positive Covid-19 tests that are analysed are found to involve the Delta variant.

France is recording just over 4,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, so it is possible to estimate the number of cases of Delta variants based on that. 

“You'll say that it's still not much, but that was the situation in England a few weeks ago,” Mr Véran said while on a visit to a vaccination centre in Paris.

Public Health England (PHE) has said that more than 90% of new Covid cases in the UK involve the Delta variant. 

The UK has recorded 52,076 new Covid-19 cases in the past week, an increase of 45% on the week prior. 

France changed its PCR testing strategy yesterday in an effort to better track variants of Covid-19, including the Delta variant, using a technique called screening (criblage, in French). 

France improving Covid-19 testing to better track Delta variant spread

Positive tests for Covid-19 are now being screened to check if the virus is a carrier of one of five of the most ‘worrying’ variants, or with around a dozen that are ‘of interest’ or that are under evaluation. This includes the Delta variant. 

Previously, France was only able to screen for mutations that occurred in the original strain of the virus and the so-called UK, Brazil and South African variants.

This technique is different to sequencing, which the UK is a world leader in. France is also using sequencing to detect for Covid variants, but on a much smaller scale than the UK. 

You can read more about how France is tracking the Delta variant here - How is France tracking spread of Indian variant of Covid-19?

Sequencing basically means identifying the genetic makeup of the virus found on, for example, a positive PCR test, whereas screening is a technique to test to see if a particular variant is present in a sample.

Vaccines over 90% effective against Delta after two doses

A new analysis published by PHE shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after two doses, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.

The latest figures published June 12 show that France has fully vaccinated over 15.5million people against Covid-19. This is equal to 23.24% of the entire population.

In the UK, 56.9% of all adults have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, the latest government figures show (June 13). 

PHE’s analysis studied 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between April 12 and June 4, focusing on emergency hospital admissions in England.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said:

“These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.

“It is absolutely vital to get both doses as soon as they are offered to you, to gain maximum protection against all existing and emerging variants.”

France expanded its vaccination campaign today to allow children from the age of 12 to receive a jab. 

France opens up Covid-19 vaccinations to 12 to 17-year-olds

Health body Santé Publique France has stated that the vaccination of young adults is “progressing strongly”, with over 27% of 18- to 24-year-olds having now received at least one dose of a vaccine. 

However, it warned that the vaccination of the most elderly people is barely progressing, requiring “targeted actions to encourage and facilitate the vaccination of older people not yet vaccinated”.

The latest figures show that 80.7% of over 75s in France have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 68.9% have been fully vaccinated.

Read more:

Cluster of Delta ‘Indian’ variant found in Strasbourg, east France

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