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WHO chief warns: World is now in early stages of another Covid wave

This handout picture taken by the International Olympic Committee shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (L) receiving the Olympic torch from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. (AFP)Premium
This handout picture taken by the International Olympic Committee shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (L) receiving the Olympic torch from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. (AFP)

  • The Covid-19 pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting

Nineteen months into the Covid-19 pandemic and seven months since the first vaccines were approved, the world is now going into the early stages of another wave of infections and deaths, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.

"The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it," the WHO chief said in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting.

Tedros said that the global failure to share coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments is fueling a "two-track pandemic", adding, 'nations that have adequate resources like vaccines are opening up, while others are locking down in a bid to slow the virus' transmission."

Coronavirus vaccine discrepancies around the world are masking a "horrifying injustice", Tedros added.

The WHO chief further said, "This is not just a moral outrage, it’s also epidemiologically and economically self-defeating." He also said that the longer the pandemic drags on, the more socioeconomic turmoil it will bring. "The pandemic is a test and the world is failing," Tedros said.

'Covid Delta variant to dominate within months'

On the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19, the WHO said that it is expected to become the dominant strain of the virus over the coming months.

Delta, which was first detected in India, has now been recorded in 124 territories -- 13 more than last week -- and already accounts for more than three-quarters of sequenced specimens in many major countries, the WHO said.

"It is expected that it will rapidly out-compete other variants and become the dominant circulating lineage over the coming months," the UN health agency said in its weekly epidemiological update.

Of the three other Covid-19variants of concern (VOCs), Alpha, first detected in Britain, has been reported in 180 territories (up six from last week), Beta, first detected in South Africa, in 130 (up seven) and Gamma, first detected in Brazil, in 78 (up three).

According to SARS-CoV-2 sequences submitted to the GISAID global science initiative over the four weeks to July 20, the prevalence of Delta exceeded 75 percent in several countries.

Those included Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Britain, China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Singapore and South Africa.

"Growing evidence supports the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant as compared to non-VOCs. However, the exact mechanism for the increase in transmissibility remains unclear," said the WHO.

With agency inputs

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