'Strong likelihood' of more dangerous Covid variants, warn WHO experts

  • The WHO emergency committee noted that the pandemic continues to evolve with four variants of concern and emphasised the risk of the emergence of new zoonotic diseases.
The WHO chief urged the world to take a new approach in global health security.(Reuters)
The WHO chief urged the world to take a new approach in global health security.(Reuters)
Published on Jul 15, 2021 08:14 PM IST
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By | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, Hindustan Times

The emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned about the “strong likelihood” for the emergence of more virulent and dangerous variants of coronavirus that may be more challenging to control. After the eighth emergency committee meeting on Wednesday regarding the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the WHO experts released a statement saying the pandemic remains a challenge globally.

“The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control,” the experts said.

Amid the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the committee noted that Covid-19 continues to evolve with four variants of concern and unanimously agreed that the pandemic still “constitutes an extraordinary event” that poses a health risk to people around the world. The committee also emphasised the risk of the emergence of new zoonotic diseases while the world is still responding to the ongoing pandemic.

“As such, the Committee concurred that the Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and offered the following advice to the Director-General,” it concluded.

Due to different paces of vaccination around the world, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, the committee has called on all countries to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by the end of September. The WHO chief urged the world to take a new approach in global health security, warning that if the world continues on the same path, it will “continue heading for the same destination”.

"One key area in which improved cooperation is needed is in the way information about emerging pathogens and outbreaks is collected, analysed and disseminated," Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva.

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