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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Monday Market Musings >>> Highlights of the Delta Variant's Impact on Asia

The Delta Variant of the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic is running rampant across the world and has become the new dominant strain of the virus. The Delta variant which was first detected in India last December has since spread and caused large spikes in cases especially in Asia as the vaccination rates are much lower in comparison to western countries.

Japan has recently stated that they will be extending their state of emergency to the 12th of September and have added several regions to the emergency zone. Japan had recently hosted the Olympic games amongst heavy criticism against such a decision as it will contribute to the spread of the Delta variant. However, since the vaccination program for citizens above 65 years old is largely complete, Japan’s Covid 19 death rate is not as high as it was in May. But due to the extremely contagious nature of the Delta strain, Japan is facing its worst outbreak with cases rising as high as 25,000 per day. Japanese Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura commented that “The situation has become close to a disaster”.

South Korea and Australia were also heavily hit with the spread of the new variant, as they both have on average only one in every five people vaccinated. Australia’s two largest cities Sydney and Melbourne have been put on lockdown along with further restrictions such as a curfew and construction sites only being able to operate at 25% capacity. South Korea have also had to take similar measures, even having to ban gatherings of more than 2 people after 6 PM.

India has faced a massive second spike in cases from late March to early June with cases rising to as much as 400,000 new cases every day. Fortunately, since then the cases have drastically decreased in proportion as more of India’s population develop antibodies to resist the virus. This has however come at a huge loss of live as there was 430,000 fatalities due to the virus and its spread.

Bangladesh however is facing not just a spike in Covid cases, but also of Dengue cases and their health care system is taking a heavy toll. Their Covid cases have fortunately dropped due to the two-week lockdown that was imposed. Sri Lanka is also on an upwards trajectory for new Covid cases as it recorded its highest number of cases (3884) on the 21st of August. With cases rising, the private and government health sectors have found it extremely difficult to cope with the surge of patients, this has forced the country to enter a 10-day lockdown in hopes to reduce the stain on health care workers.

The vaccines however have still proved effective against the Delta variant, experts in England have stated that the vaccines were able to prevent around 60,000 deaths, proving to be the best weapon that can be utilized to stay safe from the Delta variant.

August 23rd | 9.30 AM

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