The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that the delta variant of the coronavirus has sparked a fourth wave of the pandemic in the Middle East, with the increase in Covid-19 infections and fatalities predominantly being recorded among those who have not been vaccinated.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said, “The fast spread of the Delta variant across the Eastern Mediterranean Region and all other WHO regions is a serious reason for worry.” “Across the area, we are already in the fourth wave of Covid-19.”
According to WHO, the delta form of the coronavirus has now been detected in 15 of the Middle East’s 22 nations. Unvaccinated patients make up the majority of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalised patients. The region’s low vaccination rate, along with the delta form of the coronavirus’s enhanced transmissibility, is a key source of worry.
Iran, Iraq, Tunisia, and Libya are the countries worst hit by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the Middle East, said the public health body of the United Nations (UN). “Over 310 000 new cases and 3500 deaths have been reported on average on a weekly basis during the last 4 weeks, which is a 55% and 15% increase in the number of cases and deaths, respectively, compared to the previous month,” a statement issued by the WHO media centre read.
“Admission and hospitalisation rates have increased in the last few weeks, and some referral hospitals are reaching full capacity and facing a shortage of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies,” it added.
Covid-19 management does not only include churning out vaccines that are highly effective against coronavirus disease infection, but also requires an equitable increase in the vaccination coverage, the UN body said. “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 in its statement.