West Asia virus surge due to Delta variant: WHO

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Jul 30, 2021, 02:40 PM IST

World Health Organization skipped two letters in the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, for the naming of new Covid variant Omicron (representative image). Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

World Helath Organisation said that the highly transmissible variant has been observed in 15 out of 22 regions. The global health body said that Delta variant had triggered a "fourth wave"

World Health Organisation said on Thursday that Delta variant was behind the "surge" in coronavirus outbreak in West Asia. This has triggered a "fourth wave", it said. Vaccination rates remain low in the region.

WHO said that the highly transmissible Delta variant has been recorded in 15 out of 22 countries and territories of the region from Morocco to Pakistan.

"The circulation of the Delta variant is fuelling the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in an increasing number of countries in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region," it said in a statement.

"Most of the new cases and hospitalised patients are unvaccinated people.  We are now in the fourth wave of Covid-19 across the region," said Ahmed al-Mandhari, director of WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region.

As of the last week of July, "only 41 million people, or 5.5 percent, of the region's population, had been fully vaccinated," the WHO said.

There is an increase in infections by 55 per cent. Deaths have risen by 15 per cent. More than 310,000 case and 3,500 deaths have been recorded weekly.

Countries such as Tunisia, which has suffered the biggest number of Covid-19 deaths in North Africa, have been struggling to contain the outbreak.

Critical shortages of oxygen tanks and intensive care beds have stretched the capacities of healthcare systems regionally.

WHO noted the rapid spread of the Delta variant was quickly making it "the dominant strain" in the region.

According to a recent paper in the journal Virological, the amount of virus found in the first tests of patients with the Delta variant was 1,000 times higher than patients in the first wave of the virus in 2020, greatly increasing its contagiousness.

(With inputs from agencies)