Only one of three covid strains detected in India is a ‘variant of concern’: WHO

News Network
June 2, 2021

United Nations, June 2: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said only B.1.617.2, one of the three strains of the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant first detected in India, is a “variant of concern” now and noted that lower rates of transmission have been observed for the other two lineages.

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and was divided in three lineages - B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

In the Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published on Tuesday, WHO said available findings for lineages B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 were initially used to designate B.1.617 a global Variant of Concern (VOC) on May 11 this year.

“Since then, it has become evident that greater public health risks are currently associated with B.1.617.2, while lower rates of transmission of other lineages have been observed,” WHO said.

The UN health agency said that in order to reflect this updated information, B.1.617 has been “delineated”.

“B.1.617.2 remains a VOC and labelled variant Delta – we continue to observe significantly increased transmissibility and a growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant. Further studies into the impact of this variant remain a high priority for WHO.”

The Delta variant has now been reported in 62 countries around the world as of June 1, the update said.

It added that the B.1.617.1 strain has been reclassified to a Variant of Interest (VOI) and labelled variant “Kappa”. While Kappa is also demonstrating increased transmissibility (in specified locations), “global prevalence appears to be declining. This variant will continue to be monitored and reassessed regularly.”

The B.1.617.3 lineage is "no longer classified as either a VOI or VOC – relatively few reports of this variant have been submitted to date.”

On Monday, the WHO announced the new naming system for key Covid-19 variants and the labels are based on the Greek alphabet (i.e. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc), “making them simple, easy to say and remember.”

“The labels do not replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information & will continue to be used in research. The naming system aims to prevent calling #COVID19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatising & discriminatory,” WHO said in a tweet.

WHO said that as the global public health risks posed by specific Covid-19 variants becomes better understood and evolves, it will continue to update the list of global VOIs and VOCs.

“This is necessary to adjust to the emergence of new variants, their changing epidemiology (e.g., the incidence of some variants is rapidly declining), and our understanding of their phenotypic impacts as new evidence becomes available and is shared.”

Variants no longer classified as VOCs or VOIs will continue to be monitored as part of the overall evolution of SARS-CoV-2, and may be reassessed pending new evidence indicating an increased public health risk, WHO said.

The update further said that India reported the highest numbers of new Covid-19 cases in the past week at 13,64,668, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the previous week. Other countries reporting the highest numbers of new cases are Brazil (4,20,981 new cases; 7 per cent decrease), Argentina (2,19,910 new cases; 3 per cent increase), the United States of America (1,53,587 new cases; 18 per cent decrease), and Colombia (1,50,517 new cases; 40 per cent increase).

The South-East Asia Region reported over 1.5 million new cases and over 29,000 new deaths, a 24 per cent and an 8 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.

“Case incidence continued to follow a sharp decline for a third consecutive week, and death incidence decreased for the first time since early March 2021, primarily driven by trends reported in India,” the update said.

In the South-East Asia Region, the highest numbers of new deaths were reported from India (26,706 new deaths; 1.9 new deaths per 100,000; an 8 per cent decrease), Indonesia (1057 new deaths; 0.4 new deaths per 100,000; a 15 per cent decrease), and Nepal (1010 new deaths; 3.5 new deaths per 100,000; a 22 per cent decrease).

Globally, the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to decrease, with over 3.5 million new cases and 78,000 new deaths reported globally in the past week; a 15 per cent and 7 per cent decrease respectively, compared to the previous week, the update said.

The European and South-East Asia Regions reported the largest decline in new cases and deaths in the past week, while case incidence increased in the African and Western Pacific regions. “Although the number of global cases and deaths continued to decrease for a fifth and fourth consecutive week respectively, case and death incidences remain at high levels and significant increases have been reported in many countries in all regions,” the WHO update said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 18,2021

The US military has admitted killing 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, in a drone strike last month. Washington has previously claimed that those who killed were terrorists.

The Pentagon had maintained the August 29 strike targeted a Daesh-K terrorist who posed an imminent threat to American troops at the Kabul airport, with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley calling it a "righteous strike.”  

But on Friday, General Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, announced at the Pentagon that the military investigation has found it killed 10 civilians and the driver and that the vehicle targeted was not a threat associated with Daesh-K, a shadowy terrorist group that emerged following the last month bomb blast at the Kabul airport.  The attack killed scores of Afghans and over a dozen Americans.

McKenzie told reporters that the US military drone strike was a "mistake" and offered an apology.

"This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology," he said.

McKenzie added that he is "fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome."

Some media outlets had reported that the US drone strike apparently targeted the wrong man, killing an innocent Afghan aid worker along with members of his family, but the top US general described the attack as "righteous".

"At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport," McKenzie told reporters. "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake."

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 11,2021

Riyadh, Sept 11: The Saudi General Directorate of Passports announced it has started the automatic extension of the validity of residence permits (Iqama) for stranded expatriates outside the Kingdom in addition to extending the validity of visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without fees or charges for all expats until 30/11/2021, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA)reported.

The move comes in implementation of the directives of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

The decision, which was approved by the Minister of Finance, comes in line with ongoing efforts being made by the Kingdom’s government to deal with the effects and repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic.

It also falls within precautionary measures that guarantee the safety of citizens and residents and contribute to mitigating financial and economic impacts.

The Directorate indicated that the extension will be carried out electronically in cooperation with the National Information Centre without the need to visit the departments of passports. The extension process is as follows:

First: Extending the validity of residence permits as well as exit and re-entry visas for residents who are in countries from which entry is suspended as a result of Coronavirus until 30/11/2021.

Second: Extending the validity of visit visas for visitors who are in the countries from which entry is suspended as a result of the Coronavirus until 30/11/2021.

Currently, the countries facing the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Last month, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has issued directives to allow direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel ban.

The decision was applied only to those foreigners who have a valid residency permit (iqama) and left the Kingdom on exit and re-entry visa after taking two doses of vaccine against coronavirus from Saudi Arabia.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 5,2021

Mangaluru, Sept 5: The coastal district of Dakshina Kannada, which shares its border with Kerala, has recorded 130 fatalities in August, making it the district with highest number of deaths in the state for the said month.

Bengaluru Urban registered 101 Covid deaths in August. 

One in every five Covid deaths in Karnataka has occurred in Dakshina Kannada in August. The district, in its defence, said 29 of those deaths were of patients from other districts, which if taken into account, the coastal district would still tie with the state capital on the districts with most number of deaths for the month.

According to the officials, 59 per cent of the active cases are in Mangaluru city. Also, 66 per cent of the total active cases are in home isolation. The district administration is mulling over filing FIRs against primary contacts who breach quarantine. 

Dr Ashok H, Covid nodal officer for Dakshina Kannada district, said that the positivity rate over the past seven days in the district has dropped to 2.04 per cent and case fatality rate to 1.43 per cent.

"Out of 2,248 active cases, 1,486 (66.1 per cent), are in home isolation, 544 (24.2 per cent) in hospitals and 218 (9.7 per cent) in Covid Care Centres. The reason for higher hospitalisation rate compared to other districts is that we are admitting nursing and paramedical students, who are testing positive, who don't have severe symptoms, to hospitals so that they compulsorily remain isolated," he said.

"We have 32 paramedical and eight medical colleges. We got clusters from there when we screened 7,000-odd students. Sullia also had 8 per cent positivity rate previously for one month but now has only 145 active cases," he added.

Now the focus is on Beltangady taluk which has the next highest active cases with 296.

"Deaths are high because medical colleges like Yenepoya are getting referrals from other districts under Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka. Earlier we would send them back to their districts but now with the centralised bed management system, deaths of patients from other districts occurring in Mangaluru are being recorded as Dakshina Kannada district's deaths," Dr Ashok said. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.