A medical worker wearing protective gear wears plastic gloves in the sweltering heat at a coronavirus testing site in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP/Lee Jin-man)

A medical worker wearing protective gear wears plastic gloves in the sweltering heat at a coronavirus testing site in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP/Lee Jin-man)

WHO says world in a ‘very dangerous period’ with delta COVID-19 variant

The more contagious variant has been identified in nearly 100 countries

The head of the World Health Organization says the world is in “a very dangerous period” of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the more contagious delta variant is identified in nearly 100 countries.

At a press briefing on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate, and it is becoming the predominant COVID-19 virus in many countries.

“I have already urged leaders across the world to ensure that by this time next year, 70% of all people in every country are vaccinated,” he said, adding that would effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.

He noted 3 billion doses of vaccine have already been distributed and, “it’s within the collective power of a few countries to step up and ensure that vaccines are shared.”

Of the vaccine doses given globally, fewer than 2% have been in poorer countries. Although rich countries including Britain, the U.S., France and Canada have pledged to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines, WHO estimates 11 billion doses are needed to immunize the world.

The Associated Press

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