The director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the world is in a very “dangerous period” of the Covid-19 pandemic intensified by more transmissible variants like Delta which is continuing to evolve and mutate. In countries with low vaccination coverage, dreadful conditions of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm, he said.
Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday, “Compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic.”
“But no country is out of the woods yet. The Delta variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate, which requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response,” he said.
Adding that masking, physical distance, avoiding crowded places and keeping indoor areas well ventilated are the basis for the response he said, “Public health and social measures like strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care remain critical.”
He noted that there are essentially two days for countries to push back against new surges, in at least 98 countries the Delta variant has been reported and is spreading rapidly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage.
Ghebreyesus underscored that the world must justifiably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines and stressed that he has requested the leaders across the world to work together to ensure that by this time next year, in every country 70 per cent of all people are vaccinated.
He said, “This is the best way to slow the pandemic, save lives, drive a truly global economic recovery and along the way prevent further dangerous variants from getting the upper hand. By the end of this September, we’re calling on leaders to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of people in all countries.”
The WHO chief said this could be enhanced by companies openly sharing technology and know-how as new manufacturing hubs – including for mRNA vaccines – are being developed.
“In particular, I urge those companies – BioNTech, Pfizer and Moderna – to share their know-how so that we can speed up the development of new production. The sooner we start building more vaccine hubs and upping global vaccine capacity, the sooner we can diminish deadly surges,” he said.
The Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published by WHO said that 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 hospitalizations to this variant.”
In India, the Delta variant was first detected which is now being reported in nearly 100 countries which is “likely an underestimate” and this highly transmissible strain is expected too rapidly
The Delta variant, first detected in India, is now being reported in nearly 100 countries, which is “likely an underestimate” and the highly transmissible strain is expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become dominant globally over the coming months, WHO had said this week.
It said given the increase in transmissibility, the Delta variant is “expected to rapidly outcompete other variants and become the dominant variant over the coming months.”
To fight this virus, we need to follow some important steps like individual, community level-public health and social measures, infection prevention and control measures, that have been used since the beginning of the pandemic that remain effective against current variants of concern, including the Delta variant, noted WHO that the tools that exist today to combat the coronavirus.