WHO Says Public Health Responses Need To Adjust as Delta Variant Spreads

As the world endeavours to keep Covid-19 at bay, the evolution of the coronavirus has made the journey to effective containment that much harder.

The virus’ variants, such as the Delta variant, are also said to be more transmissible than the original strain.

On Friday (2 Jul), the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the world is now in a “very dangerous period” as the Delta variant has been detected in 98 countries.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros added that we need to adjust our public health responses as the variant evolves continually.

Delta variant detected in 98 countries

Dr Tedros said the Delta variant is spreading fast in at least 98 countries regardless of the vaccination progress.

No country is out of the woods yet, and this is especially the case in countries with low vaccination rates. Hospitals are, unfortunately, overflowing once again.

Even as countries reopen borders and relax regulations, many have raised the alarm over the spread of the Delta variant, reported The Straits Times (ST).

In the United States, 25% of new Covid-19 cases are linked to the Delta variant. Similarly, in England, the variant was linked to 99% of sequenced Covid-19 tests.

The same can be said for Europe, where the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the Delta variant is expected to account for 90% of cases by the end of August.

In countries closer to Singapore, places like Australia and Malaysia have also reported a surge in infections, leading to lockdowns and ramping up of vaccinations.

Countries not sharing vaccines fast enough

On 2 Jul, Dr Tedros urged governments to get at least 10% of their population vaccinated to lessen the severity of the situation, reported ST.

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He also hopes that vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna can share their knowledge and technology.

With more mRNA vaccine manufacturing hubs set up, global vaccine capacity can increase.

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There’s a need to ensure public health and social measures are in place to fight the surge. This includes detection, surveillance, testing, isolating, treatment, masking up, and social distancing.

Beyond that, the world needs to share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines.

Aim to have 70% of population vaccinated by July 2022

According to The Guardian, countries are currently sharing vaccines, but Dr Tedros warned that it is too slow to prevent the spread.

He urged world leaders to work together to ensure that at least 70% of people in each country are inoculated by this time in 2022. This will slow the pandemic, save lives, and help drive a global economic recovery.

More importantly, it is necessary to prevent dangerous variants from getting ahead of us.

Delta variant is also of grave concern in Singapore

Among Singapore’s Covid-19 cases, the Delta variant also accounts for many new Covid-19 cases since May.

Such increasingly transmissible variants are indeed causing great concern.

So let’s all do our part by following safety measurements and getting vaccinated as soon as possible to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

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Featured image adapted from The Japan Times.