The Delta variant of Covid-19, first detected in India, still represents only 0.5% of the positive test results analysed in France so far, according to the latest ‘flash’ study into its spread.
The latest Santé publique France ‘flash study’ results are from May 25, in the latest weekly study released yesterday.
It concluded: “Despite a recent increase in the detection of the Delta variant in the sequenced samples, nothing shows that there is a significant spread of this strain in the country so far.”
It warned people to stay alert, however, as vaccines may be less effective against the Delta strain – especially before people are fully vaccinated with all doses. It also said that the increased contagion of the strain was a reason to stay vigilant.
It said: "The appearance of clusters with native transmission of this variant indicates that the spread has begun in France, and [this] should lead to the greatest vigilance, given its link with a possible vaccine escape [less vaccine resistance] and the data in favour of an increase in its spread compared to the reference variants and to the 20I/501Y.V1 (Alpha, original) variant.”
‘Native’ transmission means the spread of the strain among people who have neither recently travelled to the UK or India, nor had any contact with someone who has.
So far in France, the UK (Alpha) strain of the virus remains dominant, present in 87.8% of samples, compared to just 6% of the South African (Beta) variant.
Delta alert in Pays de la Loire
Regional health authority l’Agence Regionale de Sante (ARS) in the Pays de la Loire has said it is staying alert to the possible spread of the Delta variant in the region.
In his weekly update on the situation, ARS director Jean-Jacques Coiplet said: “We have never been closer to the end of the match. But we must still stay alert and respect the health protocols.”
It said that it would still recommend that people continue to wear masks when indoors with others, and to meet with people outdoors where possible.
It comes after one case of the Delta variant was confirmed in Loire-Atlantique. The ARS has said it is staying alert to the possible spread of the strain, which is more resistant to vaccines than others, especially before the person is fully vaccinated.
The ARS is planning to introduce an intensive testing programme in the region to stop the variant from spreading, it said, and continue to “vaccinate the most at-risk people and individuals who have the most social interactions”.
France Covid cases fall below UK for first time since February
Covid France: Delta variant update for June 6 as new cases confirmed
How is France tracking spread of Indian variant of Covid-19?
Covid war could be won by autumn, says France's health minister