'Delta variant to become a dominant strain of COVID-19 in coming months, detected in 96 countries so far': WHO
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the increasing concerns over the Delta variant of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday warned that it can become a dominant variant in the coming months globally. Terming it a highly transmissible strain, the WHO also informed that the Delta variant has been detected in nearly 100 countries so far.
In its COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, the WHO said as of June 29, 2021, "96 countries have reported cases of the Delta variant, 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."
Given the increase in transmissibility, the WHO warned that the Delta variant is expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become the dominant variant over the coming months. "Although the increased transmissibility of VOCs (Variants of Concern) means that measures may need to be maintained for longer periods of time, particularly in a context of low vaccination coverage, these measures must be targeted, time-bound, reinforced and supported by member states," it added.
The world body, however, noted that the tools that exist today to combat the coronavirus — individual, community level-public health and social measures, infection prevention and control measures that have been used since the beginning of the pandemic — remain effective against current variants of concern (VOCs), including the Delta variant.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Delta variant is the “most transmissible” of the variants identified so far and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.
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). For the first time in several weeks, the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases were not reported from India.
The update noted that at 521,298, the highest numbers of new cases were reported from Brazil during the June 21-27 week, followed by India (351,218 new cases, a 12 per cent increase over the previous week), Colombia (204,132 new cases, 5 per cent increase), Russia (134,465 new cases, 24 per cent increase) and Argentina (131,824 new cases, 11 per cent decrease).
It said in all WHO regions, there are countries reporting sharp increases in cases and hospitalisations. There are a number of factors contributing to this, including the emergence and circulation of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2, increased social mixing and mobility, uneven and inequitable vaccination; and considerable pressure to lift public health and social measures, the WHO said.
(With PTI Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan