World in ‘very dangerous period’ as Delta variant continues to mutate, warns WHO chief
- The WHO chief said that terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm in countries with low vaccination coverage, adding that no country is “out of the woods yet”.
The world is witnessing a very “dangerous period” compounded by the rapid transmission of the Delta variant of coronavirus, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned. The WHO chief told a press briefing on Friday that the Delta variant, first identified in India, has been detected in at least 98 countries and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many of them.
“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,” Ghebreyesus said.
Ghebreyesus said that terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm in countries with low vaccination coverage, adding that no country is “out of the woods yet”. Terming the Delta variant “dangerous”, the head of the UN health agency warned that the Delta variant is continuing to evolve and mutate. He also advised governments for constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response.
The WHO chief underlined that there are essentially two ways for countries to push back against new surges in Covid-19 cases. He stressed that public health and social measures like strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care remain critical, adding that masking, physical distance, avoiding crowded places and keeping indoor areas well ventilated are required to keep the surge in check.
"And second, the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines," said Ghebreyesus.
He also urged Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna to share mRNA technology and know-how to help new manufacturing hubs accelerate the production of Covid-19 vaccines. He lamented that though some sharing of Covid-19 vaccines are happening, “it’s still only a trickle, which is being outpaced by variants.”
“The sooner we start building more vaccine hubs and upping global vaccine capacity, the sooner we can diminish deadly surges," Ghebreyesus added.