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‘COVID-19 cases rise after 2 months of steady decline’

10 Jul 2021

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise after two months of steady decline in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Countries are once again struggling to contain infection and protect their populations while at the same time keeping their borders open and their economies active.

“As we continue into the summer months, we are concerned about another spike in cases due to variants of concern and increased international travel, combined with low protection of people due to limited vaccination uptake and inadequate adherence to prevention measures,” Dr Ahmed al Mandheri, WHO’s regional director for Eastern Mediterranean, said on the COVID-19 situation in the region.

“Despite all efforts, we are seeing a higher weekly average of new cases and deaths across the region compared to the same time last year. This is due to several factors. The Delta variant has been detected in at least 98 countries around the world, including 13 countries in our region, and it is spreading quickly regardless of vaccination coverage. It is fuelling the current surge in cases and deaths. The Delta variant seems to be spreading faster than the original strain,” he added.

Dr Mandheri said the rapid spread of the Delta variant is contributing to an increase in disease transmission both globally and in the region. “Countries should prepare by strengthening surveillance and detection, social measures, and ensuring health systems are able to cope with increasing numbers of moderate and severe cases,” he said.

“We are working to obtain a better understanding of the COVID-19 variants, but we cannot do this without enough in-depth information about how the virus circulates. We encourage all countries to enhance sequencing capacity and data sharing. The more we know about the virus and the impact of its different strains, the better we can adapt our response to defeat it. WHO, of course, is willing to play its role in supporting data collection, analysis, sharing and management,” he added.

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