How to halt the spread of the Delta variant?

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is causing a spike in infection rates in several countries. In Europe, Britain, Russia and Portugal are the hardest hit so far. But even in countries with a low incidence, the proportion of those infected with the variant is steadily rising, and vaccinated people are reportedly becoming infected with it as well. Commentators discuss what measures should be taken and ask whether politicians and the population are taking the threat seriously enough.

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Visão (PT) /

Recklessly heading for a fourth wave

Visão accuses Portugal's government of a reckless entry policy:

“Contrary to what the vast majority of European countries are doing, Portugal is not exercising any special vigilance when visitors arrive in the country or Portuguese citizens return from abroad. It is putting its trust in their declarations and letting people travel to their destinations without any further checks. This 'relaxed' attitude and, in some cases, reverence for one of our main sources of income - tourism - is making the fight against the virus fragile and damaging our image abroad. At the end of the day, it will also hurt tourism. ... These are misguided, short-sighted guidelines, and they expose a political leadership lacking criteria of its own and acting according to third parties' interests.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Use panic to drive vaccination

Estonia is particularly concerned about the high infection figures in neighbouring Russia. This concern should be used to bring the flattened vaccination rate back up, suggests Eesti Päevaleht:

“If you look at the data from the last month, it is clear that in Russia the number of deaths has also risen remarkably again, unlike in Portugal and the UK. The difference is that these two countries are much further along with vaccination than Russia. ... Instead of just watching the third wave in Russia, we should use it to get our faltering vaccination programme back on track. Now that even the nihilism of the Russians is giving way, the time has come to start a proper vaccination campaign in Estonia as well.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A huge behavioural experiment

In Israel 57 percent of the population is already fully vaccinated. How the Delta variant spreads there will once again show what could happen elsewhere, writes Meir Ouziel, columnist for the Israeli newspaper Maariv, in a guest commentary in La Repubblica:

“We are confronted with a huge behavioural experiment. If Israel has been the world's laboratory for measuring the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign, it may now become the laboratory for studying another question: How do people who thought they were safe because they were vaccinated behave when the possibility arises that the virus could overcome their vaccine protection? I think the behavioural scientists will find that the 'back to life' atmosphere is so intoxicating that no one is willing to go back into seclusion right now.”

Népszava (HU) /

Type of vaccine plays key role

Statistics show that the type of vaccine is probably also playing a role in the spread of the Delta variant, warns Népszava:

“In countries where many people have been vaccinated with a less effective vaccine [such as Sinopharm], the more dangerous and deadly new variant is spreading relatively quickly. In such a case, what would a responsible government that treats human life as a priority do? It would try to correct the earlier mistake and after using a less effective vaccine start vaccinating with an mRNA vaccine - this is happening right now in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and according to some press information also in Serbia.”