COVID-19 Variant First Reported In India Threatens To Rapidly Spread In Sub-Region: United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees

COVID-19 Variant First Reported In India Threatens To Rapidly Spread In Sub-Region: United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees

With COVID-19 raging in many parts of the world, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee warned of shortages of vaccines in the Asia-Pacific region, including for refugees and asylum-seekers
Coronavirus Outbreak, News
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COVID-19 Variant First Reported In India Threatens To Rapidly Spread In Sub-Region: UNHCRUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that the organisation is worried about the COVID-19 situation in the Asia and Pacific region, which in the past two months has experienced the largest increase in the number of cases globally
Highlights
  • B.1.617 COVID-19 variant has 3 lineages- B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3
  • Only B.1.617.2 is now a variant of concern: WHO
  • The B.1.617.2 is now labelled variant Delta by WHO

United Nations: The highly infectious COVID-19 variant first detected in India “threatens” to rapidly spread in the sub-region, including among refugees, the UN refugee agency has said as it warned of vaccine shortages in the Asia-Pacific region, including for asylum-seekers. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Andrej Mahecic, at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday (June 1), said that the fragile health systems in many countries in the Asia and Pacific region have struggled to cope with the recent surge of coronavirus cases. “We are particularly worried about the situation in the Asia and Pacific region, which in the past two months has experienced the largest increase in the number of cases globally,” he said.

Also Read: World Health Organisation Approves Second COVID-19 Vaccine From China For Emergency Use

Over this period, there have been some 38 million recorded COVID-19 cases and more than half a million deaths, the UNHCR spokesperson said.

The lack of hospital beds, oxygen supplies, limited Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacities and scarce health facilities and services have worsened outcomes for those infected with COVID-19, particularly in India and Nepal. The highly infectious variant of the virus which first emerged in India threatens to rapidly spread in the sub-region, including among refugee populations, Mr Mahecic said.

The B.1.617 COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, is divided in three lineages — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that only B.1.617.2 is now a “variant of concern,” observing that lower rates of transmission have been observed for the other two lineages, making them no longer variants of concern.

The B.1.617.2 is now labelled variant Delta and has been reported in 62 countries as of June 1. With COVID-19 raging in many parts of the world, the UNHCR warned of shortages of vaccines in the Asia-Pacific region, including for refugees and asylum-seekers. UNHCR spokesperson Mr Mahecic said,

We urge an immediate and stronger support for the COVAX initiative, a worldwide effort aimed at achieving equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is critical to save lives and curb the impact of the virus, particularly in developing nations. These countries host the vast majority of more than 80 million forcibly displaced people in the world. Yet so far, they have benefited from only a fraction of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines.

The UNHCR stressed that no one can be left behind in the global effort against the coronavirus.

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The pandemic will be defeated only when vaccinations become available everywhere on an equitable basis, the agency said.

It said that the current delays in vaccine shipments, brought about by limited supplies to COVAX, mean that some of the world’s most vulnerable people remain susceptible to the virus.

The UNHCR is adding its voice to the calls for countries with surplus doses to donate to COVAX, and for manufacturers to boost supplies to the COVAX facility, Mr Mahecic said.

The UN refugee agency said that refugees remain especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 as overcrowded settings, coupled with limited water and sanitation facilities, can contribute to increased infection rates and an exponential spread of the virus. It said that in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, where almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees are living in the single largest and most densely populated cluster of refugee camps in the world, the number of cases has increased considerably in the last two months.

As of May 31, there have been over 1,188 cases among the refugees, with more than half of these cases recorded in May alone. There is also a “worrying increase” in the number of COVID-19 cases among refugees and asylum-seekers in Nepal, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Some refugees, including in Nepal, have already received their first vaccine dose with COVAX-provided supplies while among the Rohingya refugees in the camps in Bangladesh, not a single vaccine has been administered yet, given the scarcity of supplies in the country, the UN refugee agency added. On Wednesday, India reported 1,32,788 new coronavirus infections, taking the country’s tally to 2,83,07,832, according to the Union Health Ministry. The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,35,102 with 3,207 fresh deaths, it said, adding that the active cases were recorded below 20 lakh for the second consecutive day.

Also Read: India To Have Enough COVID Vaccine Doses To Inoculate Up To 1 Crore People Per Day By Early August: ICMR Chief

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 4:07 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44,230Cases
4,05,155 1,315Active
3,07,43,972 42,360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,90,156 7,242

81,933 3,980

60,75,888 11,032

1,32,335 190

Kerala

33,49,365 22,064

1,55,327 5,287

31,77,453 16,649

16,585 128

Karnataka

29,01,247 2,052

23,277 685

28,41,479 1,332

36,491 35

Tamil Nadu

25,55,664 1,859

21,207 314

25,00,434 2,145

34,023 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,62,049 2,107

21,279 280

19,27,438 1,807

13,332 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,373 60

784 16

16,84,834 44

22,755

West Bengal

15,26,539 766

11,300 70

14,97,116 822

18,123 14

Delhi

14,36,144 51

554 19

14,10,541 70

25,049

Chhattisgarh

10,01,781 130

2,086 140

9,86,175 270

13,520

Odisha

9,74,132 1,615

15,276 489

9,53,088 2,039

5,768 65

Rajasthan

9,53,622 17

259 9

9,44,410 26

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,829 27

268 6

8,14,485 33

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,796 18

130 0

7,81,153 18

10,513

Haryana

7,69,858 30

712 10

7,59,516 17

9,630 3

Bihar

7,24,719 46

481 1

7,14,596 42

9,642 3

Telangana

6,43,716 623

9,188 126

6,30,732 746

3,796 3

Punjab

5,99,005 58

553 6

5,82,162 60

16,290 4

Assam

5,64,030 1,299

14,114 385

5,44,695 1,664

5,221 20

Jharkhand

3,47,105 56

259 22

3,41,720 34

5,126

Uttarakhand

3,41,982 48

669 3

3,33,952 51

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,207 181

1,144 5

3,15,686 175

4,377 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,728 229

1,098 145

2,01,110 84

3,520

Goa

1,70,900 90

1,077 5

1,66,679 93

3,144 2

Puducherry

1,20,725 98

972 49

1,17,961 49

1,792

Manipur

96,824 1,000

10,895 27

84,408 1,016

1,521 11

Tripura

78,059 271

3,640 221

73,665 488

754 4

Meghalaya

63,745 731

5,750 294

56,933 423

1,062 14

Chandigarh

61,948 5

37 1

61,102 4

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,477 335

4,252 49

43,000 383

225 1

Mizoram

37,171 764

11,862 252

25,168 511

141 1

Nagaland

27,653 67

1,299 51

25,798 114

556 4

Sikkim

26,132 276

3,297 180

22,498 92

337 4

Ladakh

20,324 4

60 4

20,057 8

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,643 1

36 5

10,603 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,162 7

70 6

10,042 13

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,534 3

10 3

7,395

129

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