“In countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation is particularly bad.”
The Director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, has said there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 deaths around the world.
Ghebreyesus, speaking during a media briefing on Monday, said the number of COVID-19 cases has also been on the increase for four consecutive weeks.
He said the surge followed the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, which according to him, has now been detected in over 104 countries.
The Delta variant is known as B.1.617.2. It was first identified in India and is said to be more contagious than the UK (B.1.1.7) variant.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday confirmed the index case of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in Nigeria.
“Last week marked the fourth consecutive week of increasing cases of COVID-19 globally, with increases recorded in all but one of WHO’s six regions. And after 10 weeks of declines, deaths are increasing again,” Ghebreyesus said.
“The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and deaths. Delta is now in more than 104 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide.
“Not everywhere is taking the same hit though, we’re in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent.
“In places with high vaccination coverage, Delta is spreading quickly; especially infecting unprotected and vulnerable people and steadily putting pressure back on health systems.
“In countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation is particularly bad. Even countries that successfully managed to ward off the early waves of the virus, through public health measures alone, are now in the midst of devastating outbreaks.
He asked wealthy countries to bridge the COVID-19 vaccine distribution gap, especially in low and middle income countries.
“The global gap in vaccine supply is hugely uneven and inequitable. Over the weekend, the G20 finance ministers recognized the importance of funding the ACT Accelerator so that the world can ensure tests, treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably and I hope this translates quickly to filling the $16 billion funding gap,” he said.
“The world should battle together to put out this pandemic inferno everywhere. The global gap in vaccine supply is hugely uneven and inequitable.
“The priority now must be to vaccinate those who have received no doses and protection.”