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Factors such as religious, political events responsible for COVID Surge in India: WHO

WHO 1

UNITED NATIONS, MAY 13: A recent risk assessment of the COVID-19 situation in India found that many possible contributing factors including “several religious and political mass meeting events that increased social mixing”, had led to the “resurgence and acceleration” of COVID-19 transmission in the country, according to the World Health Organization.


Viruses of the B.1.617 lineage were first reported in India in October 2020, according to the WHO’s COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update which was published on Wednesday.
The update stated that the revival of COVID-19 cases and deaths in India has raised concerns about the involvement of B.1.617 and other variants (e.g., B.1.1.7) in the virus’s circulation.
“A recent risk assessment of the situation in India conducted by WHO found that resurgence and acceleration of COVID-19 transmission in India had several potential contributing factors, including increase in the proportion of cases of SARS-CoV-2 variants with potentially increased transmissibility; several religious and political mass gathering events which increased social mixing; and, under use of and reduced adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM). The exact contributions of each of these factors on increased transmission in India are not well understood”, the update said.
According to the update, SARS-CoV-2 variants have been detected in about 0.1% of positive samples in India that have been sequenced and submitted to GISAID. GISAID allows fast and open access to data on disease and pandemic viruses.
“The prevalence of several VOCs including B.1.1.7 and B.1.612 sublineages increased concurrent to the surge in COVID-19 cases reported in India”, the WHO update stated.
According to the update, preliminary analysis conducted by the WHO based on sequences submitted to GISAID shows that B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 have a significantly higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, implying increased transmissibility. “Since the identification of these variants through late April 2021, B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 accounted for 21% and 7% of sequenced samples from India”, the update said.
According to the update, UK becomes the second country adversely affected by the B.1.617 variant after India, and was recently designated as a “national variant of concern”.
The update, after studying the COVID-19 global scenario, stated that the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths decreased marginally this week, with over 5.5 million cases and over 90,000 deaths worldwide.
“While India continues to account for 95% of cases and 93% of deaths in the South-East Asia Region, as well as 50% of global cases and 30% of global deaths, worrying trends have been observed in neighboring countries”, it said.


The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (2,738,957 cases) followed by Brazil, the US, Turkey, and Argentina while the highest cases of new deaths were reported from India (26,820 new deaths), Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
The B-1617 Coronavirus strain, which traces its origins to India, was listed as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization earlier this week (WHO).
(Agencies)

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