The French equivalent of the Centre for Disease Control has predicted that by the end of August 90 percent of new coronavirus cases will be the Indian or Delta variant. In studies in the UK and Australia it has been shown to be highly transmissible.

Ninety-nine percent of new coronavirus cases in the UK involve the Indian variant.

The best defence against infection is vaccination, and on Tuesday, June 29, an importance milestone was reached in France with half of the total French population now having received at least one dose of vaccine. Thirty-three percent of the population have received both doses.

However, vaccine hesitancy continues, with 150,000 French citizens making appointments each day despite the fact that many more doses are available.

The country’s vaccination target is ambitious. By August the French health authorities hopes to have jabbed 85 percent of those over 50 and those with comorbidities.

Meanwhile, there were 2,314 new cases and 33 new deaths in France on Tuesday, June 29. In the UK, 20,479 new cases and 23 new deaths were reported.

The most likely scenario by the autumn is a sizeable wave of infections in Europe, leading to hospitalisations and admissions to ICUs, due to the relativelty slow rollout of vaccines, while in the UK the more successful inoculation program will keep hospitalisation figures low.

Eighty-five percent of the adult population in the UK have received one dose, and almost 64 percent both doses.

FILE PHOTO: France’s embattled health minister, Olivier Véran Reuters