The World Health Organization says the world is at risk of losing hard-won gains in fighting COVID-19 due to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, COVID-19 infections have increased by 80 per cent over the past four weeks in most regions of the world.
Deaths in Africa – where only 1.5 per cent of the population is vaccinated – rose by 80 per cent over the same period.
According to the WHO, the Delta variant has been detected in 132 countries, becoming the dominant global strain.
Tedros told a news conference, “Hard-won gains are in jeopardy or being lost, and health systems in many countries are being overwhelmed.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant of the coronavirus as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease.
A few countries had reported increased hospitalisation rates, but higher rates of mortality had not been recorded from the Delta variant.