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

19,89,21,889Cases
6,44,02,340Active
13,02,83,678Recovered
42,35,871Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,89,21,889 and 42,35,871 have died; 6,44,02,340 are active cases and 13,02,83,678 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 3:55 am.

India

3,17,26,507 30,549Cases
4,04,9588,760Active
3,08,96,354 38,887Recovered
4,25,195 422Deaths
In India, there are 3,17,26,507 confirmed cases including 4,25,195 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,04,958 and 3,08,96,354 have recovered as on August 3, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

63,15,063 4,869

78,700 3,650

61,03,325 8,429

1,33,038 90

Kerala

34,25,473 13,984

1,65,834 2,057

32,42,684 15,923

16,955 118

Karnataka

29,08,284 1,285

24,045 123

28,47,627 1,383

36,612 25

Tamil Nadu

25,63,544 1,957

20,385 139

25,09,029 2,068

34,130 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,70,008 1,546

20,582 437

19,36,016 1,968

13,410 15

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,500 24

646 18

16,85,091 42

22,763

West Bengal

15,29,295 575

10,803 171

15,00,331 734

18,161 12

Delhi

14,36,401 51

538 44

14,10,809 95

25,054

Chhattisgarh

10,02,458 236

1,918 1

9,87,012 234

13,528 3

Odisha

9,79,737 1,032

13,318 820

9,60,386 1,785

6,033 67

Rajasthan

9,53,704 16

241 9

9,44,509 25

8,954

Gujarat

8,24,922 22

251 3

8,14,595 25

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,862 17

132 7

7,81,217 10

10,513

Haryana

7,69,956 14

703 12

7,59,614 25

9,639 1

Bihar

7,24,917 37

401 34

7,14,872 71

9,644

Telangana

6,45,997 591

8,819 54

6,33,371 643

3,807 2

Punjab

5,99,162 32

473 31

5,82,395 63

16,294

Assam

5,68,257 1,275

12,429 213

5,50,534 1,469

5,294 19

Jharkhand

3,47,223 23

239 15

3,41,855 38

5,129

Uttarakhand

3,42,198 37

574 35

3,34,261 71

7,363 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,725 118

1,254 43

3,16,090 73

4,381 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,06,369 208

1,304 75

2,01,543 132

3,522 1

Goa

1,71,295 90

1,027 16

1,67,118 72

3,150 2

Puducherry

1,21,059 54

944 38

1,18,320 92

1,795

Manipur

99,872 541

9,814 591

88,480 1,120

1,578 12

Tripura

79,026 304

3,104 12

75,167 292

755

Meghalaya

65,939 350

5,843 200

58,987 537

1,109 13

Chandigarh

61,960 6

33 3

61,116 3

811

Arunachal Pradesh

48,565 305

3,508 167

44,823 469

234 3

Mizoram

40,111 748

12,316 127

27,642 618

153 3

Nagaland

28,004 59

1,300 44

26,130 99

574 4

Sikkim

26,880 126

3,323 131

23,211 256

346 1

Ladakh

20,345 5

57 0

20,081 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,650

15 9

10,631 9

4

Lakshadweep

10,207 12

79 4

10,078 8

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,539

6 1

7,404 1

129

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