Share of COVID-19 cases caused by more infectious Delta variant more than double in Germany

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Pediatric nurse Jenny gives a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine injection during vaccination at the Revolte Bar, which has been able to reopen after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased, in Berlin, Germany June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN, June 28 (Reuters) - The share of COVID-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus more than doubled in Germany within a week and is likely to gain more traction over other variants, a senior health official was quoted as saying on Monday.

Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute public health agency, told officials during a meeting that a genome sequencing analysis had shown the Delta variant accounting for 36% of infections in the week of June 14-20, up from 15% in the previous week, according to a senior official at the meeting.

Given the fast spread of the newer version of the virus and the slow analysis of the detailed data, Wieler estimated that the Delta variant was now already representing more than 50% of registered cases, the source added.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder told reporters earlier on Monday that he expected the Delta variant, first identified in India, to become the dominant virus strain in Germany by summer. Cases caused by the variant have also been surging in several other countries.

"Ignoring the Delta variant would be a serious mistake," Soeder warned, adding that nobody should think problems related to the more infectious variant would just go away.

Soeder urged citizens to get vaccinated as this would offer the best protection against the coronavirus.

In Germany, roughly 54% of the population has received a first jab and some 35% are fully vaccinated. Health officials have said the spread of the disease can be slowed and the number of cases, hospitalizations and COVID-19 deaths reduced if a high percentage of the population gets vaccinated.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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