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Delta variant ripping around world at scorching pace: WHO

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: WHO/Jean Germain

Geneva, July 13 (MNN) The WHO has cautioned that the Delta variant is “ripping around the world at a scorching pace”, adding that last week was the fourth consecutive week to record increasing COVID-19 cases globally, with increases in all but one of WHO’s six regions.

“The variant is driving a new spike in cases and deaths. Delta is now in more than 104 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide,” World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the media here on Monday (local time).

He cautioned that the pandemic was not yet over anywhere.

He said that the global gap in vaccine supply was hugely uneven and inequitable. “Over the weekend, the G20 finance ministers recognized the importance of funding the ACT Accelerator so that the world can ensure tests, treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably and I hope this translates quickly to filling the 16 billion dollar funding gap.”

Tedros said that after 10 weeks of decline, coronavirus deaths were increasing again.

“In places with high vaccination coverage, Delta is spreading quickly; especially infecting unprotected and vulnerable people and steadily putting pressure back on health systems.

“For health workers that have been in a titanic battle for more than a year and have record waiting lists to attend to, increased hospitalisations at any level is a challenge to them and their patients and to the overall capacity of the health system.”

Tedros said that in countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation was “particularly bad”.

“Delta and other highly transmissible variants are driving catastrophic waves of case, which are translating into high numbers of hospitalisations and death.

“Even countries that successfully managed to ward off the early waves of the virus, through public health measures alone, are now in the midst of devastating outbreaks.

“Particularly in low-income countries, exhausted health workers are battling to save lives in the midst of shortages of personal protective equipment, oxygen and treatments.”

The WHO DG said that the world should battle together to put out this pandemic inferno everywhere.

Taking about vaccine inequity, the WHO chief said that some countries and regions were actually ordering millions of booster doses, before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable.

“We are making conscious choices right now not to protect those most in need; our own fire-fighters. Currently, data shows us that vaccination offers long lasting immunity against severe and deadly COVID-19. The priority now must be to vaccinate those who have received no doses and protection.”

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