Two people have died in Gers, France, after being infected with the Delta coronavirus variant, health authorities said, announcing an “immediate action plan” to prevent an upsurge of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The two victims, aged 42 and 60, were the first cases with the variant detected in the department. They had not been vaccinated and their health was compromised by risk factors, the regional health agency of Occitanie (ARS) told French news agency AFP. Both died at the Auch hospital centre, it said.
Seven other possible cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in Gers, with “many other suspected cases currently under investigation,” according to the ARS.
“The virus does not stop at departments’ borders,” it added, recalling that the neighbouring department of Landes “is experiencing a significant spike in the number of people infected with this variant.”
“All resources have been mobilised to strengthen the means of action and avoid an upsurge of the epidemic,” the ARS added, calling on the population to participate “massively in testing and vaccination operations.”
The highly contagious Delta variant “now accounts for 9% to 10%” new Covid-19 cases in France, which is a sharp increase compared to last week, French government spokespersin Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.
This virus, which has already caused a weeks-long surge in infections in Britain, could lead to a widespread spike this summer if nothing is done to stem its advance, health specialists and authorities warned.