A World Health Organization report revealed on Wednesday that the India-dominant variant of coronavirus, B.1.617 variant, has now been officially recorded in 53 territories. The variant was also found in seven other territories, according to information WHO received from unofficial sources, making the total affected territories to 60.
The B.1.617 mutant strain is found to be more transmissible while disease severity and risk of infection were under investigation, the report says.
The global covid rate over the past week witnessed a decrease in the number of new cases and deaths. A 14 percent fall in new infections with around 4.1 million new cases were reported along with 84,000 new deaths, down 2 percent, compared to the previous week.
"Despite a declining global trend over the past four weeks, incidence of Covid-19 cases and deaths remain high, and substantial increases have been observed in many countries throughout the world," WHO says in its report.
European region and southeast Asia region recorded a major decline in new cases and deaths in the past seven days, WHO noted. Meanwhile, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, and the Western Pacific regions reported almost the same numbers as the previous week.
India is now pronounced the global epicenter of the pandemic with 1,846,055 cases reported in the last 7 days, followed by Brazil and Argentina with 451,424 and 213,046, respectively. However, the rate of new infection has gone down a 23 percent.
UK-dominant variant (B.1.1.7) has now been reported in 149 territories while South African variant (B.1.351) in 102 territories and Brazil variant (P.1) in 59, according to WHO's updates. "Virus evolution is expected, and the more SARS-CoV-2 circulates, the more opportunities it has to evolve," the report said.
The India-dominant variant or B.1.617 was split into three lineages such as B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3. The B.1.617.1 variant is now reported in a total of 41 territories, the B.1.617.2 strain in 54 and B.1.617.3 in six countries including Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Russia and the United States.
"Reducing transmission through established and proven disease-control methods... are crucial aspects of the global strategy to reduce the occurrence of mutations that have negative public health implications," WHO said.