The World Health Organization said on Tuesday the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.
Outside India, the UK has recorded the highest number of cases of the Indian variant, at 1,587 cases to date. The US, Singapore and Germany are the only other countries to have sequenced more than 100 cases of the B.1.617+ variant, according to the Gisaid Initiative.
These numbers are only the number of recorded sequenced cases and, as most global cases are not sequenced, such numbers will be a drastic undercounting of the real number of cases of the variant around the world.
There are also national disparities in sequencing rates. The UK sequences a large proportion of its positive Covid-19 cases and therefore recording a higher number of variants as a result.
Recorded cases of the variant have been found on every continent, with Asia so far recording the highest total. European countries have sequenced almost 2,000 cases of the variant across 21 countries – the majority of which are in the UK.
Here is a roundup of the countries with the highest rates of the Indian variant.
The US has detected 486 cases of the Indian variant, approximately half of which were detected in the last four weeks. From 4 May, travellers from India, with the exception of legal permanent residents, spouses and close family members of US citizens, have been prohibited from entering the country. Despite the India-variant cases, the US has continued to ease coronavirus restrictions due to its vaccination programme. Joe Biden announced on Thursday that people who had been vaccinated would not be required to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.
Singapore has detected 156 cases of the India variant, more than two-thirds of which were identified within the past four weeks. As a result, Singapore has introduced new lockdown measures. From 16 May to 13 June, gatherings and household visitors have been reduced to two people from five, workers have been instructed to work from home, and indoor dining has been halted.
Germany has detected 103 cases of the Indian variant. More than 60% were detected within the past four weeks.
A report published by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute on Wednesday suggested that the proportion of the variant in the country “has been steadily increasing in recent weeks”. In late April, Germany introduced a travel ban from India with the exception of citizens and residents.
Germany is continuing to ease restrictions, and the government said on Friday that the number of infections per 100,000 had fallen to 96.5, the first time it had fallen below 100 since 20 March.
Australia has detected 85 cases of the Indian variant. On Friday, the country introduced coronavirus restrictions for New South Wales and greater Sydney, to last until 17 May. They include prohibitions on more than 20 people gathering in private homes and compulsory mask-wearing in all public indoor spaces.
Denmark has confirmed 39 cases of the Indian variant, 11 in the last four weeks. Tyra Grove Krause, the director of the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s national infection disease agency, said the variant was not currently a cause for concern within Denmark. Since 21 April, bars, cafes, restaurants, and other venues have been open to anyone who can show a negative test result taken with 72 hours or has been vaccinated.