“Dangerous period” with delta variant: WHO

Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Delta variant of COVID-19 will be highly transmissible strain in the coming months; will become the dominant variant of the coronavirus globally.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now present in nearly 100 countries as per conservative estimates, though this is likely an underestimate as sequencing capacities needed to identify variants are limited. A number of these countries are attributing surges in infections and hospitalisations to this variant, WHO said.

WHO also warned that the Delta variant is “expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become the dominant variant over the coming months.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told that, the Delta variant is the “most transmissible” of the variants identified so far and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.

The world is in “a very dangerous period” of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the more contagious delta variant is identified in nearly 100 countries.

Addressing to media persons on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate, and it is becoming the predominant COVID-19 virus in many countries.

“I have already urged leaders across the world to ensure that by this time next year, 70% of all people in every country are vaccinated,” he said, adding that would effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.

He pointed that around three billion doses of vaccine have already been distributed and, “it’s within the collective power of a few countries to step up and ensure that vaccines are shared.”   Of the vaccine doses given globally, fewer than 2 per cent have been in poorer countries. Although rich countries including Britain, the US, France and Canada have pledged to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines, WHO estimates 11 billion doses are needed to immunise the world.

“I know that globally there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant, and WHO is concerned about it too,” he said.

As per the latest figures, cases of the Alpha variant have been reported in 172 countries, territories, or areas, Beta in 120 countries (one new country), Gamma in 72 countries (one new country), and Delta in 96 countries (11 new countries).

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