Argentine Health authorities Wednesday announced the detection of three new cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus which could not be linked to any foreign traveller, thus raising the question of whether community circulation could be confirmed.
In the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, five infections with the Delta variant of coronavirus have already been detected in the City in patients who had neither traveled abroad nor had they had contact with people who had returned to the country in recent days.
Federal Science Ministry sources Wednesday confirmed three new cases, in addition to two detections in July, which -when combined- have raised doubts about the likely presence of community circulation of the Delta strain.
The three new positive cases were all detected within one family of which no member had had any contact with travelers who had been infected with Covid-19 abroad. Health authorities are now investigating their near ones, to check if there were any other infections.
According to the national Health Ministry, as of Friday, August 13, there were 130 laboratory-confirmed cases of the Delta variant, of which 125 were of patients with a travel history (100 international tourists and 25 narrow contacts). The other five are those with no epidemiological link with travelers.
The samples of these detected cases correspond to residents of the City of Buenos Aires, province of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Salta and Tucumán. Travelers in whom the Delta variant was isolated came from the United States, France, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Montenegro, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Panama and Mexico, the Ministry's report details.
The Delta variant is associated with higher transmissibility and higher secondary attack rate. At the end of July, the first two cases had been detected in the Monserrat neighborhood in the city of Buenos Aires. At that time the City Government mounted a comprehensive house by house testing operation.
From the new cases detected, Buenos Aires City authorities also launched a testing campaign. Of the 2,407 swabs carried out, 41 came out positive. “Initially, these cases are not considered as a Delta variant as they do not meet suspicion criteria,” the City said in a statement.
As a result of the Delta variant, national health authorities are speeding up their vaccinating efforts to have as many two-dose schemes of COVID-19 vaccine as possible completed by the end of August.
According to the Public Vaccination Monitor, 26.8 million Argentines were vaccinated with one dose, but only 10.5 million received both shots. In other words, less than half the people whon took the first injection received the second.
Therefore, 59.5% of the population has been inoculated with the first dose and 23.3% with both. If only people over 18 are taken into account, 89.3% received the initial dose and and 35% took the full treatment.