Delta coronavirus variant is more widespread in NL, but experts don’t expect a surge

Photo: Odi Busman
Coronavirus does not stop at the border. Photo: Odi Busman

The Delta, or Indian, variant of coronavirus has become more common in the Netherlands but experts do not expect it to lead to a surge in cases – as has happened in Britain – because of the vaccination programme, news website said on Thursday.

Last week, 0.5% of the 1,148 coronavirus samples examined by public health agency RIVM proved to be the Delta variant of the virus, but this week, that had risen to 1.1% of the 610 samples which have been analysed so far.

RIVM experts told that the increase shows that the virus is more infectious than the original type and that it’s prevalence may now increase in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, this unlikely to happen at the same speed as in the UK, the RIVM said, because the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are dominant here, and would appear to offer better protection after a single dose. Britain has focused on the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Delta variant now accounts for over 90% of British cases.

The Delta variant may spread more quickly once the summer holiday season gets underway, as tourists from the Netherlands meet British visitors abroad, said.

Figures from the RIVM do show that more people are thought to have picked up coronavirus abroad and almost 6% of all positive tests in the past week involve people who have recently travelled out of the country.

Some seven flights a week arrive in the Netherlands from India now that the ban on air travel has been lifted and replaced by mandatory quarantine. Visitors to Britain also have to go into mandatory quarantine on their return.

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