Argentina's Health Ministry reported Thursday that so far 29 individual cases of the so-called 'Delta' variant of Covid-19 have been recorded on national territory.
All but one of those confirmed as carrying the infection had recently travelled overseas, said officials, to destinations including the United States, Spain, Holland, Mexico, Montenegro, Panama, France and Venezuela.
The final case, which like the others was identified by testing carried out by the ANLIS-Malbrán Institute, is an individual with "an epidemiological link to a traveller," said the portfolio in a statement.
Of the 28 infected who had a recent history of travel, 32 percent were detected via testing upon arrival to the country (nine cases) and 68 percent (19 cases) tested positive for the Delta variant during a compulsory period of isolation or via the required PCR test at the end of their seven-day obligatory quarantine.
Argentina's government has in recent weeks sought to accelerate its vaccination drive in a bid to preempt a rise in infections driven by the highly-contagious variant, which is not yet circulating in the community.
The Delta variant expected to become the dominant strain of the virus over the coming months, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday.
The strain, which was first detected in India, has now been recorded in 124 territories – 13 more than last week – and already accounts for more than three-quarters of sequenced specimens in many major countries, the WHO said.
"It is expected that it will rapidly out-compete other variants and become the dominant circulating lineage over the coming months," the UN health agency said in its weekly epidemiological update.
Of the three other coronavirus variants of concern (VOCs), Alpha, first detected in Britain, has been reported in 180 territories (up six from last week), Beta, first detected in South Africa, in 130 (up seven) and Gamma, first detected in Brazil, in 78 (up three).
According to SARS-CoV-2 sequences submitted to the GISAID global science initiative over the four weeks to July 20, the prevalence of Delta exceeded 75 percent in several countries. Those included Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Britain, China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Singapore and South Africa.
"Growing evidence supports the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant as compared to non-VOCs. However, the exact mechanism for the increase in transmissibility remains unclear," said the WHO.