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WHO chief scientist warns pandemic isn't slowing down as cases continue to surge

WHO chief scientist warns pandemic isnt slowing down as cases continue to surge

World Health Organisation's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said there was clear evidence that the coronavirus pandemic isn't slowing down as the spread of Delta variant and slow pace of vaccination is leading to a surge in Covid-19 cases across most regions of the world.

In a recent interview with the Bloomberg, Swaminathan said Covid-19 cases are rising in five out of six WHO regions, and mortality rates in Africa have jumped by 30-40 per cent in the last two weeks.

Swaminathan added that large parts of the world face oxygen shortages, a lack of hospital beds and higher mortality, while vaccination levels in some countries are reducing severe cases and hospitalizations.

Swaminathan said that in the last 24 hours, close to 500,000 new cases have been reported and about 9,300 deaths and noted that it was not a sign of the pandemic slowing down.

According to the chief scientist, the main reason for the increase in cases are the fast-spreading delta variant, slow vaccination rollouts globally and the relaxation of safety measures like mask mandates and physical distancing rules.

The WHO this week urged governments to be careful when reopening so as not to put at risk the gains made. In England, remaining legal restrictions are set to be removed on July 19, and measures like wearing masks will become a personal choice. The U.S. and much of Europe have also loosened curbs as cases dropped.

"The idea that everyone is protected and it's kumbaya and everything goes back to normal is a very dangerous assumption right now anywhere in the world," Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO's health emergencies program, said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

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TAGS:Delta variant Who chief scientist 
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