DUBAI: The new coronavirus infections in the United Arab Emirates are mainly coming from more infectious variants, leading to an increase in the number of deaths linked to the virus, a federal authority has said.
The Arab Gulf state, with a population of around 9 million, has carried out one of the fastest vaccination campaigns in the world.
However, cases have increased over the past month to more than 2,000 new infections per day, although this remains below the peak in February.
On Saturday June 26, the UAE recorded 10 deaths, its highest daily death toll since March, according to Reuters’ COVID-19 tracker.
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The National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said the increase in deaths was due to the spread of the Beta, Delta and Alpha variants.
The beta variant, first detected in South Africa, is the most dominant variant in the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 39.2% of cases, he said.
Delta, first detected in India, accounts for 33.9% of infections. Alpha, first detected in Britain, accounts for 11.3%, he said on Twitter on Sunday evening.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned this month that Delta is becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease with its increased transmissibility.
People who have visited South Africa or India in the past 14 days are prohibited from entering the UAE, although some, such as citizens and diplomats, are exempt.
NCEMA urged the public to get vaccinated, saying 92% of people admitted to intensive care had not been vaccinated, while 94% of people who died had not been vaccinated.
Many in the UAE have been inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine from China, while the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines are also offered to citizens and residents.
The NCEMA said 91.8% of eligible people had been vaccinated, representing 71% of the population.
Chinese disease control research last week said antibodies raised by two Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines were less effective against the Delta variant compared to other vaccines, but still offered protection.