The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that “more dangerous” variants of COVID-19 could be torn around the world as global infections shot up to half a million daily, largely driven by the virulent Delta strain.
A count of official AFP sources found that after an initial drop, cases have risen again worldwide since the end of June, surpassing 540,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday again.
“The pandemic is not over,” the WHO emergency committee said in a statement.
He stressed “the high probability that new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern will appear and spread worldwide that may be even more difficult to control.”
The virus has reappeared in places that have long been thought to have dodged the worst of the pandemic, with Australia – praised for its successful “COVID zero” strategy – facing a resurgence that has grown to almost 1,000 cases worldwide the country in a month.
About 12 million Australians received orders to stay at home in the country’s second largest city, Melbourne, and joined residents in Sydney.
State Prime Minister Dan Andrews said he made the decision to return the city – and the vicinity of Victoria – to its fifth closure “with a heavy heart”.
“Nothing about this virus is fair,” he said.
Headache of sporting events
The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc from Asia to Africa, killing more than four million people since it emerged in China in December 2019.
In Tokyo, just over a week after the opening ceremony of the Olympics postponed by the virus, local authorities registered 1,308 new cases, the highest number since January.
Organizers confirmed that one athlete in Japan and five Olympic workers, mostly contractors, had tested positive for COVID-19.
This came after eight members of a hotel hosting Brazil’s Olympic judo team tested positive and a member of the Russian seven-a-side rugby team was hospitalized after a positive test.
COVID-19 poses a unique challenge for sporting event organizers.
Three members of McLaren’s Formula 1 team tested positive, including CEO Zak Brown, the British team ahead of the British GP at Silverstone on Thursday.
And India’s beat, Rishabh Pant, tested positive as the squad prepared for a series of tests in England.
Deaths in Africa are rising
Countries where health infrastructure and vaccine deployment capabilities remain limited are under special pressure, as Rwanda will have to block the capital Kigali and eight other districts from Saturday.
The East African nation had previously averted the worst of the pandemic by applying some of the continent’s strictest containment measures.
But hospitals have been overwhelmed in recent weeks, with a critical shortage of beds and medicines.
Overall, coronavirus-related deaths in Africa rose 43 percent in the space of the week, caused by a lack of intensive care and oxygen beds, the WHO said Thursday.
Probe of COVID origin
In Asia, Indonesia on Thursday recorded a record 56,757 daily infections, as the world’s fourth most populous nation surpassed India as the region’s COVID-19 epicenter.
The Asian infrastructure investment bank, based in China, said it was lending $ 500 million to the Southeast Asian nation to increase its response.
Doses of vaccines are flowing to the affected country by the millions, including Japan and the United States, while Jakarta on Thursday approved the Pfizer / BioNTech outbreak for emergency use.
Myanmar is also facing chronic shortages of medical supplies, where residents of the coup’s largest city, Yangon, challenged a military curfew in a desperate search for oxygen to keep their loved ones breathless. COVID.
Residents told AFP they had escaped at night to secure points on the lines to fill oxygen cylinders, dismissing claims by the country’s military rulers that there is more than enough to go through them.
As the virus shows no signs of relief, the WHO is working towards the second phase of an investigation into the origin of COVID-19 and urged China on Thursday to cooperate better.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus demanded more access to the raw data after a report by a team of independent experts in Wuhan earlier this year was widely criticized for lack of transparency and access.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: WHO warns of “dangerous” variants as COVID cases increase worldwide (2021, July 15) recovered on July 16, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- dangerous-variants-covid-cases-globally.html
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