As some health experts are concerned over the increase in cases connected to the highly contagious Delta variant strain of COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney is standing by the province’s vaccination plan as a way to curb future cases of the disease.
Speaking to the media earlier this week, Kenney responded to a question about the new variant, which originated in India earlier this year and has recently been projected to be the dominant strain of the virus in many regions, including in Ontario.
Despite those facts, he dismissed the possibility of a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases based on the Delta variant.
“At this stage of this, I don’t think it’s responsible to constantly be spreading fear. We need to embrace the science of the protective effect of vaccines,” he said.
He also referenced a U.K. study into vaccination that proved first and second doses provided a great deal of protection against the virus.
However, the country also announced it was delaying its plan to ease lockdown restrictions based on a startling increase in Delta variant.
The Delta variant first found in India is estimated by scientists advising the government to be between 40 per cent and 80 per cent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain. It now accounts for more than 90 per cent of infections in the U.K.
The variant has also more recently forced Australia’s largest city, Sydney, into a two-week-long lockdown.
That was because an outbreak of the variant had reached 80 cases.
The move is in line with the Australian government’s tough stance on health restrictions that have made it more successful at managing the pandemic than many other advanced economies.
The country has confronted small outbreaks in recent months that have been contained through speedy contact tracing, isolation of thousands of people at a time or snap hard lockdowns.
When it comes to Alberta and the Delta variant, Kenney says his government has developed “one of the most cautious plans in the world.”
“Yeah, we’ll keep an eye on that and other variants,” he said. “I guarantee you though, the promoters of fear will have lots of variants to come in the future. There will be new variants. They’ll be more contagious. The scientists will study them. If necessary, the vaccines of the future will be adjusted to be more protective.
“The government of Alberta is following the expert advice of our chief medical officer instead of following angry voices on Twitter.”
According to the province’s data, the B.1.1.7 or U.K. variant is the dominant strain of the disease in Alberta.
From the latest data, up to the end of day on June 23, there are 607 confirmed cases of the B.1.617 India or Delta variant.
(With files from the Associated Press and Reuters)