Europe will see a fourth wave of coronavirus driven by the Delta variant late this summer, the Irish prime minister has warned.
Micheál Martin made the warning on Tuesday as he announced that indoor dining would not be reopened in Ireland as planned.
Instead, indoor areas at bars and restaurants will be restricted to those who are fully vaccinated or who have previously been infected by COVID-19, he said.
It comes as the Delta variant, which first originated in India, continues to spread rapidly across the UK.
While the strain is not as prevalent in Europe, recent figures show that cases are increasing on the continent.
French health minister Olivier Veran announced on Tuesday morning that Delta cases now represent 20% of coronavirus infections in France.
Meanwhile, Germany has recorded a total of 1,401 delta variant cases – jumping by 506 infections in the last month, according to GISAID.
Delta variant cases have also soared by 56% in Portugal, 21.8% in Spain, 87.9% in Russia and 18% in Italy in the last four weeks, the data shows.
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It comes as the UK has now reported almost 100,000 Delta variant cases.
As of June 21, 92,029 cases of Delta have been confirmed by Public Health England, of which 117 ended in death.
Of those who were fully vaccinated who caught the Delta variant, 50 died, the latest data from Public Health England indicated.
Meanwhile, several European countries have now imposed travel restrictions on Brits who have not had both vaccines.
Portugal has become the latest to impose tough new measures, with only fully vaccinated visitors allowed to bypass quarantine.
This follows a similarly strict stance taken by Malta and new rules in Spain requiring full vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.
Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel has called for all EU countries to ban British travellers regardless of whether they have had the vaccine or not.
Merkel, with the support of French president Emmanuel Macron, has called for countries to designate Britain as a “country of concern” due to the Delta variant.
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