HIGHLIGHTS:

  • WHO mentioned that in the Middle East, the surge in cases and deaths was being reported among people who are yet to be vaccinated
  • In the Middle East, the delta variant has been reported in 15 out of 22 countries
  • Iran, Iraq, Tunisia, and Libya are the countries worst hit by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) informed that the delta variant of COVID-19 has triggered the fourth wave in the Middle East. It mentioned that the surge in cases and deaths was being reported among people who are yet to be vaccinated.

Talking to the media, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the eastern Mediterranean mentioned that the rapid spread of the Delta variant across the Eastern Mediterranean Region and all other WHO regions is a major cause for concern. “We are now in the fourth wave of Covid-19 across the region,” Dr. Ahmed added.

According to sources, the delta variant has been reported in 15 out of 22 countries in the Middle East. Reportedly, most of the new COVID-19 cases and hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. The low rate of vaccination in the region, coupled with the increased transmissibility of the delta variant of the coronavirus, remains a major cause for concern.

Since the last few weeks, the admission and hospitalization rates have increased, and a few referral hospitals are reaching full capacity and facing a shortage of intensive care beds. “Until and unless vaccination coverage is increased equitably for everybody, everywhere, the virus will continue to circulate and mutate to produce new variants,” WHO said.

Referring to the situation, the United Nations (UN) cited that Iran, Iraq, Tunisia, and Libya are the countries worst hit by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. During the last 4 weeks, nearly 3,10,000 new cases and 3,500 deaths have been reported on average on a weekly basis. The figure represents a 55% and 15% increase in the number of cases and deaths, respectively, compared to the previous month.

As per reports, only 41 million people in the Middle East have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 till the last week in July. Among these vaccine doses, 40% were administered in high-income countries in the region, which account for only 8 percent of the region’s population.

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