Indian variant a ‘global concern’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:03 AM, May 12, 2021

Indian variant a ‘global concern’

Says WHO as second Covid wave in India shows signs of slowing

India's coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing yesterday as international health authorities warning the country's variant of the virus poses a global concern.

The WHO on Monday warned that the B.1.617 variant spreading in India appears to be more contagious, classifying it as a "variant of concern at the global level."

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"There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told a briefing in Geneva.

Nations around the globe have sent oxygen cylinders and other medical gear to support India's crisis, but many hospitals around the nation are struggling with a shortage of the life-saving equipment.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Indian Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the number of daily cases of Covid-19 is on decline in at least 18 states and federally-ruled territories.

After registering a steady rise for two months, new cases of coronavirus across India fell to 3.29 lakh yesterday. 3,876 fresh fatalities were reported in last 24 hours.

As the surge appeared to be easing in major cities, reports from rural areas suggested the virus is rampaging through India's vast hinterland, home to around two-thirds of its 1.3 billion people and where access to healthcare is limited.

In the United States, drug regulator authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15 as the country aims to speed up its Covid-19 recovery.

The US move has been criticised, however, by some public health experts who say these doses would be better used in other countries where highly vulnerable people are still waiting for vaccines, instead of a low-risk group in the United States.

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