The dreaded Delta coronavirus variant is causing alarm in the Paca region of southern France.

The regional health authority, ARS, suggests a fourth wave will hit the region this summer. The steady decline in infection rates of the past few months has been reversed, and the variant is hitting a younger age group, those between 20 and 29.

Six out of 10 new cases are of the much more transmissible Delta, compared to four out of ten in the whole of France.

In the Var and Alpes-Maritimes departments the figure is closer to eight out of ten. Sophia-Antipolis has been particularly affected.

The benchmark infection rate in the Alpes-Maritimes has risen to 31 per 100,000, while in Monaco on Monday the figure was 41.

Meanwhile, in the UK on Thursday, 32,551 new cases and 35 new deaths were reported. In France the figures were 4,081 new cases and 28 new deaths.

FILE PHOTO: A coronavirus testing centre in Nice last year Reuters