Geneva: The delta variant has led to a surge in coronavirus outbreaks triggering a “fourth wave” in the Middle East, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a statement on Thursday, the global health body said: “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 is now being reported in 15 out of the 22 countries of the Region.”
The Delta variant is becoming the dominant strain of the virus in several of these countries, with infections mostly being reported among people who have yet to be vaccinated. It is more transmissible than the original virus and other detected variants of concern,” it said.
“The rapid spread of the Delta variant across the Eastern Mediterranean Region and all other WHO regions is a major cause for concern. The number of new cases and deaths has increased in recent weeks. Most of the new cases and hospitalized patients are unvaccinated people. We are now in the fourth wave of COVID-19 across the Region,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
The WHO statement further said that amid the global shortages and grossly inequitable distribution of vaccines, it encourages higher-income countries to donate doses to low- and lower-middle-income countries.