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Delta variant dominating globally as cases rise locally

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Covid-19 rapid antigen tests being administered at Phnom Penh International Airport last month. Heng Chivoan

Delta variant dominating globally as cases rise locally

The Ministry of Health has detected an additional 676 cases of the coronavirus Delta variant in just four day from September 4-7, bringing the total to 3,323 since the first case was recorded on March 31.

Delta has now spread to the capital and 23 provinces, with Kep province being the lone holdout that has yet to find a single case.

According to the ministry, Phnom Penh has recorded the most cases at 1,113, followed by Banteay Meanchey province at 738; Oddar Meanchey at 276; Siem Reap at 220; and Preah Vihear at 117,” the ministry said.

Kratie province detected its first Delta case on September 6.

Delta has been found on a wide cross-section of Cambodians including people who have had no known contacts with inbound airline passengers or anyone who was recently abroad such as migrant workers, indicating that community transmission is already taking place.

Health minister Mam Bun Heng reiterated his call for the public to maintain vigilance and protect themselves even if they are fully vaccinated because breakthrough cases can occur – though they are typically mild in nature compared to the severity of the disease in unvaccinated patients.

Delta has so far spread to more than 100 countries around the world and has quickly become the dominant variant globally. Scientists are monitoring the evolution of the virus and keeping an eye out for future variants as the virus has infected millions of people, giving it more chances to acquire mutations that are beneficial to its spread or that make it deadlier for humans.

The health ministry recently produced a short educational video about Delta and the measures necessary to defeat it given that it is far more infectious and has a higher rate of transmission than the original strain or any other known variants.

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