Jamaica urged to remain on high alert for Delta COVID-19 variant

Professor Peter Figueroa
Professor of Public Health Peter Figueroa has joined the call for Jamaica to remain on high alert for possible cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. 
The rapid spread of the Delta variant, which is more transmissible than previous strains, has forced a growing number of countries to reimpose lockdowns and other public health restrictions. 
This has raised fears that the more contagious strain is hampering global efforts to contain the pandemic.
Professor Figueroa has suggested that Jamaica faces an especially difficult challenge if the Delta variant were to reach the island because only a "very small percentage" of the population is vaccinated. 
"So we really have to work hard to get some additional vaccines and we have to convince our adults, especially the older persons - we have to convince them to come forward and get vaccinated to protect themselves against the possibility of the Delta strain circulating in Jamaica," he suggested.  
With the government recently announcing a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and a resumption of entertainment and other activities, there are fears this could result in a spike in coronavirus cases in months to come. 
The Medical Association of Jamaica has urged the government to review the new relaxed restrictions.  
The spread of the Delta variant has forced new curbs on travel and daily life stretching from Australia and Bangladesh to South Africa and Germany, where authorities over the weekend set new limits on travellers from virus-variant zones.
South Africa on Sunday extended a nightly curfew and introduced a ban on gatherings, alcohol sales, indoor dining and some domestic travel for 14 days to halt a worrying surge in cases driven by the Delta variant.
Israel has one of the world's highest vaccination rates but has also seen Delta cases rise in recent weeks, causing authorities to reinstate an indoor mask mandate that was dropped just two weeks ago.
Health experts have warned that the Delta variant — which was first identified in India — is on track to become the most dominant version of the coronavirus worldwide. 
Last week, the World Health Organization said it had been detected in at least 92 countries.

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