WHO warns of 'dangerous period' as Delta variant spreads

2 July 2021, 18:07

At a press briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate, and it is becoming the predominant Covid-19 virus in many countries
At a press briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate, and it is becoming the predominant Covid-19 virus in many countries. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The head of the World Health Organisation has said the world is in "a very dangerous period" of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the more contagious Delta variant has been identified in nearly 100 countries.

At a press briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate, and it is becoming the predominant Covid-19 virus in many countries.

"I have already urged leaders across the world to ensure that by this time next year, 70% of all people in every country are vaccinated," he said, adding that would effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.

He noted that three billion doses of vaccine have already been distributed and "it's within the collective power of a few countries to step up and ensure that vaccines are shared".

READ MORE: What is the EU Digital Covid Certificate and can I get one?

READ MORE: Germany to allow fully vaccinated Brits to visit without quarantine 'in foreseeable future'

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Of the vaccine doses given globally, fewer than 2% have been in poorer countries.

Although rich countries including Britain, the US, France and Canada have pledged to donate one billion Covid-19 vaccines, the WHO estimates 11 billion doses are needed to immunise the world.

The news comes as British holidaymakers could potentially be banned from visiting Europe because they were given Indian-made versions of the AstraZeneca jab.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it does not recognise a version of the vaccine produced by Covishield at the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Holidaymakers given this vaccine could potentially be blocked at EU border crossings when batch numbers are checked on digital Covid passports.

The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate has launched today which is aimed at allowing Europeans to travel freely across the continent without the need for quarantine or rigorous testing on arrival in different countries.

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Up to five million doses of the Indian-made vaccine have been administered in the UK and can be identified by batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003, according to the Telegraph.

These batch numbers appear on vaccine cards filled out at clinics where jabs are given.

It also comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed Germany will allow fully vaccinated Brits to visit without quarantining 'in the foreseeable future'.

She told a joint press conference at Chequers: "We have adopted certain protective measures when we were not as yet so familiar with the Delta variant.Though a date has not been confirmed, Ms Merkel showed cautious optimism in moving forward with the easing of travel restrictions."We now see that the share of the Delta variant in Germany is increasing very rapidly.

Read more: Merkel's call for Brit travellers to quarantine in EU is 'unjustified' - minister

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"We’re reviewing continuously our travel restrictions, and we think that in the foreseeable future, those who’ve received double jabs will then, according to our classification - and now Britain obviously is a high incidence area - will be able to travel again without having to go into quarantine.

"We would like to encourage people to be vaccinated in the beginning we didn’t have that much experience with this variant, but we’re dealing with it."

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