First identified in India, the highly contagious Delta variant is now present in at least 85 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite vaccination campaigns, several countries fear new waves of epidemics. Some, already hard hit, had to put back strict restrictions to stem the progression of the variant.

The dominant Delta variant in Portugal

After England, Portugal also announced that the Delta variant was dominant in their territory. The country is experiencing a new wave that has pushed the government to slow down the gradual lifting of restrictions and even to tighten its measures in the cities most affected, including Lisbon.

The opening hours and capacity of restaurants and shops have again been reduced. Travel restrictions between the greater Lisbon region and the rest of the country during the weekend were also maintained. People with a European health certificate or a negative test can still move around freely.

New containment in Sydney

In Australia, too, the circulation of the Delta variant is worrying. Sydney entered a new strict confinement since Sunday which is to last at least two weeks. Restaurants, bars and cafes were all closed and the coastal and mountainous regions surrounding the metropolis confined.

Elsewhere in Australia, the cities of Brisbane, Darwin and Perth have also had to tighten restrictions. Darwin, who was initially confined for 48 hours, finally extended this measure until at least Friday.

Thailand faces ‘unprecedented’ wave

After wreaking havoc in India in recent months, the Delta variant has spread to Asia. Thailand, which had succeeded in controlling the epidemic throughout 2020 thanks to draconian travel restrictions and rapid isolation of positive cases, has just decreed one-month restriction measures for Bangkok and its suburbs. .

Construction sites are closed and workers are prohibited from leaving, restaurants can only take out and gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Only people with a letter stating the reasons for their displacement will be able to leave or enter the southernmost provinces of the country, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla.

Precarious situation in several Asian countries

Several Muslim-majority countries are experiencing an upsurge in cases, which could be due to movements and gatherings during Ramadan. This is the case in Malaysia, which extended for a month the confinement imposed in early June, and in Bangladesh where residents are strictly confined to their homes.

Only emergency services and export companies are allowed to continue their activities. Markets, shops, transport and offices will have to cease all activity by Thursday.

Indonesia, which announced a new daily record of contamination on Sunday, with more than 21,000 new cases, has temporarily tightened travel restrictions, but without imposing strict containments.

South Africa is backing down

While the country had lifted all restrictions linked to the pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new measures on Sunday. “All gatherings – whether indoors or outdoors – are prohibited”, with the exception of funerals, with a maximum of 50 people who can attend, announced Cyril Ramaphosa.

The curfew already in force has been extended by one hour from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. and the sale of alcohol is now prohibited. Schools will close by Friday, with no announced reopening date.

The African continent, where vaccination is not progressing, is particularly vulnerable to this third wave, which could be the most serious of all according to the WHO.