The spread of the highly transmissible delta variant of the novel coronavirus could pose a threat to the hard-won gains in fighting Covid-19 that the world has achieved so far, warned the World Health Organization on Friday but added that there is effectiveness of against the variant of the Covid-19 vaccines approved by the WHO.
The delta variant of the coronavirus has been described being as transmissible as chickenpox by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States. The CDC has also warned that the variant may cause more severe illness compared to the original train of the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan in China at the end of 2019, according to a report published by the Washington Post based on an internal CDC document.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there has been an increase of 80 per cent in new Covid-19 infections in most regions of the world over the past four weeks during which time there was been an 680 per cent rise in Covid-19 deaths in Africa where only 1.5 per cent of the population has been vaccinated yet.
“Hard-won gains are in jeopardy or being lost, and health systems in many countries are being overwhelmed,” Tedros told a news conference.
According to the WHO, the delta has become the dominant global strain and has been detected in 132 countries.
“The vaccines that are currently approved by the WHO all provide significant protection against severe disease and hospitalisation from all the variants, including the Delta variant,” said WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan.
“We are fighting the same virus but a virus that has become faster and better adapted to transmitting amongst us humans, that’s the change,” he said.
Among the four variants of the novel coronavirus, the delta variant was found to be the most easily spread so far, said Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19. This variant is about 50 per cent more transmissible than ancestral strains of SARS-CoV-2 that first emerged in China in late 2019, Kerkhove said.
She said that even while some countries have recently reported high rates of hospitalization, there have not been reports of higher mortality rates because of the delta variant.
The state of emergency in Japan was extended to three prefectures near Olympic host city Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka, Japan said Japan said on Friday, because of the surge of the disease in the capital and around the country. This has cast a shadow over the ongoing Summer Games.
In the past 24 hours, Tokyo had recorded more than 3,000 cases, out of a total opf about 10,000 fresh infections in the entire country, Ryan noted.
“The Olympics is a part of that overall context and the risk management that is place around the Olympics is extremely comprehensive,” he said
(Adapted from MoneyControl.com)