Singapore sequencing reveals highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant as major local strain

Singapore sequencing reveals highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant as major local strain

Singapore’s COVID-19 sequencing has found out that the emergence of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is the country’s major local virus strain. This revelation emphasises the highly contagious nature of the mutation that has rapidly grown globally since its first detection in India.

Among the cases recorded in the country so far, 449 have been found to be caused by variants of concern, of which 428 were infections of the Delta strain, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The second largest group was nine cases linked to the beta mutation that was first detected in South Africa.

MOH’s spokesperson said on Tuesday (8 June) that the “current understanding” is that some of the variants, including the Delta mutation, “are more transmissible”, Bloomberg reported.

“Studies are ongoing to get a more complete understanding of these variants and we will adjust our strategies as more information is made available,” the spokesperson added.

Singapore is one of the only countries in the world to sequence all of its COVID-19 cases. Its data shows the most thorough outlook of how the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, spreads more rapidly.

In the last six month, the highly contagious COVID-19 strain has been identified in over 60 countries around the world, and many are concern that it may cause the pandemic to be extended in some places.

The UK has also began reconsidering its move to completely reopen its economy later this month after a spike of cases were recorded in the country, even though a large number of its population have been vaccinated.

Besides its highly contagious rate, the Delta strain has also been linked to uncommon symptoms such as loss of hearing and blood clots leading to gangrene, indicating its effect may be more serious than other strains.

After Singapore detected the strain in the country, it went on to suspend all flights from India in April and extended its quarantine period at government-designated facilities. The Government also imposed Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) last month to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the county.

On Tuesday, Singapore recorded only four locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, showing a slowdown in the country’s number of cases. However only one of the four cases was linked to earlier infections, while the remaining three were untraceable. This indicates the difficulties in completely eradicating the recent outbreak, Bloomberg reported.

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