The world is going through a very “dangerous period” of the Covid-19 pandemic, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
“Delta variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate, which requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response,” Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing. He warned that the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, was quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries.
He added that hospitals were again “overflowing” in countries with low vaccination coverage.
The WHO, in its latest Covid-19 weekly epidemiological update released on June 29, has said that the Delta strain is expected to “rapidly outcompete other variants” of the virus due to its higher transmissibility. The strain has prompted multiple countries to reimpose restrictions to tackle the spread of infection. On June 23, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that the Delta variant could contribute to 90% of new cases in the European Union in the upcoming months.
The WHO chief, on Friday, said that the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines. “I have urged leaders across the world to work together to ensure that by this time next year, 70% of all people in every country are vaccinated [against Covid-19],” he said.
Ghebreyesus urged all countries to ensure vaccination of at least 10% of their population by the end of September. “It’s a challenge but we know it’s possible because already three billion vaccines have been distributed,” he said.
Meanwhile, India on Friday morning reported 44,111 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its tally since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 3,05,02,362, data from the health ministry showed. The single-day rise is 5.37% lower than Friday’s count of 46,617 infections. The toll rose by 738 to 4,01,050, while the number of active cases dipped under five lakh to 4,95,533.