New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday night said that the COVID-19 variant first found in India will be referred to as 'Delta' while earlier found variant in the country will be known as 'Kappa'.

"The labels don’t replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research. No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting Covid variants," said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical lead COVID-19 at WHO.

The B.1.617 variant of COVID-19 was first detected in India and had caused the second wave of the pandemic in the country. As per the WHO, the variant has now been found in 53 countries.

The B.1.617 viruses are divided in three lineages - B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3. The update gave a break-up of prevalence of the three sub-lineages of the B.1.617 variant in countries, territories and areas as of May 25.

According to it, B.1.617.1 is found in 41 countries, B.1.617.2 in 54 countries and B.1.617.3 in six. In addition, information for the B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 sub-lineages was received by WHO from unofficial sources in 11 countries, including China, and will be reviewed as more information becomes available.

WHO has declared B.1.617 as a variant of concern and the update noted that this variant has increased transmissibility, disease severity is under investigation, risk of reinfection is under investigation, possible modest reduction in neutralization activity (B.1.617.1).

It said that the highest numbers of new COVID cases in the last seven days were reported from India (1,846,055 new cases; 23 per cent decrease), Brazil (451,424 new cases; 3 per cent increase), Argentina (213,046 new cases; 41 per cent increase), the United States of America (188,410 new cases; 20 per cent decrease), and Colombia (107,590 new cases; 7 per cent decrease).

Despite a declining global trend over the past four weeks, incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths remain high, and substantial increases have been observed in many countries throughout the world, the WHO said last week.

It further said that the South-East Asia Region reported over 2 million new cases and over 32,000 new deaths, a 21 per cent decrease and a 4 per cent increase respectively compared to the previous week.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma