Geneva (Switzerland) | Jagran News Desk: With countries easing coronavirus-induced restrictions in order to resume economic activities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down and the Delta Variant of the infection is "spreading fast".

Speaking to Bloomberg, WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that COVID-19 cases are rising in five out of six WHO regions, noting that the mortality rate in Africa has jumped to 40 per cent in two weeks. She also expressed concerns over low vaccination rate in several countries, adding that many nations are facing shortage of hospital beds and liquid medical oxygen.

The WHO chief scientist also listed out four reasons as the main reason for the spike in cases:

* Delta Variant:

Delta variant, which is also known as 'B.1.617.2', has emerged as one of main reasons for spike in COVID-19 cases in most of the countries. This mutation of COVID-19 has been declared as a "Variant of Concern (VOC)" by the WHO. VOC is a "category used when mutations in Receptor Binding Domain substantially increase binding affinity in RBD-hACE2 complex, while also being linked to rapid spread in human populations".

* Slow vaccination rate:

Vaccination has been described as the only way to stop the spread of the infection, especially the Delta Variant of COVID-19. However, the pace of vaccination in many countries is slower than expected.

"Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far, has been identified in at least 85 countries, and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

* Ease in lockdown restrictions:

The easing of lockdown is another reason why COVID-19 cases are on the rise in several countries across the world. The WHO has warned that despite relaxing of safety measures, people must continue following appropriate COVID-19 norms to check the spread of the infection as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 are emerging in several countries.

* Social mixing:

Social mixing is another reason why cases are rising. Notably, the Union Health Ministry in India has also expressed concerns over social mixing and said that people must continue following appropriate COVID-19 norms.

"The idea that everyone is protected and it's kumbaya and everything goes back to normal is a very dangerous assumption right now anywhere in the world," said head of WHO's health emergencies program Mike Ryan.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma