Countries Engulfed By Fear Over The Delta Variant – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said countries across the world are engulfed by fear over the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a Friday news briefing amid reports that authorities from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Australia and Israel are racing to contain the spread of the Delta variant.

Russia’s Saint Petersburg announced a record death toll, laying bare the challenges faced by nations worldwide in their efforts to return to pre-pandemic life. Speaking on the Delta variant, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

There is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant.

Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far, has been identified in at least 85 countries and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.

In Bangladesh, authorities announced they would impose a new national lockdown from Monday over the variant, with offices shut for a week and only medical-related transport allowed.

While vaccination campaigns have brought down infections in mostly wealthy nations, the rise of the Delta variant has stoked fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed nearly four million people.

The Delta variant was first identified in India in April and is now responsible for more than 90 percent of all new infections in the United Kingdom and about 30 percent in the United States.

The variant is so contagious that experts say more than 80 percent of a population would need to be inoculated in order to contain it – a challenging target even for nations with significant vaccination programmes.

European scientists estimate Delta is 40 to 60 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first discovered in the United Kingdom, which itself was more infectious than the original virus first detected in late 2019.

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