World In ‘Dangerous Period’ As COVID Delta Variant Continues To Mutate: WHO Chief
Geneva: The world is in a “dangerous period” of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded by more transmissible variants like Delta, which is continuing to evolve and mutate, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned.
The WHO chief noted that the Delta variant has been detected in at least 98 countries and is spreading quickly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage.
Ghebreyesus said this at a press briefing on Friday, news agency PTI reported.
“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,” he said,
“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.
Ghebreyesus said there are essentially two ways for countries to push back against new surges.
“Public health and social measures like strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care remain critical,” he said, adding, “Masking, physical distance, avoiding crowded places and keeping indoor areas well ventilated are the basis for the response.”
The WHO chief underscored that the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines. He stressed that he has urged leaders across the world to work together to ensure that by this time next year, 70 per cent of all people in every country are vaccinated.
“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,” he added.
As new manufacturing hubs including for mRNA vaccines are being developed, the WHO chief said this could be accelerated by companies openly sharing technology and know-how.
“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.