By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday cried out at India’s prevailing Covid-19 crisis and described the situation as beyond heartbreaking.
“It’s pleasing to see small declines in cases and deaths in several regions, but many countries are still experiencing intense Covid-19 transmission, and the situation in India is beyond heartbreaking,” Tedros said.
“WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, we have sent “thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals, and laboratory supplies,” Tedros said while speaking to the media.
He also said that the WHO had transferred over 2,600 of its experts from various programs, including polio and tuberculosis, to work with Indian health authorities to help respond to the Covid-19 pandemic
Tedros’s comments came as India battles a catastrophic wave of Covid-19 that has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums working at full capacity.
The country has become the latest hotspot of a pandemic that has killed over three million people worldwide, even as richer countries take steps towards normality with quickening inoculation programs.
A recent spurt in Covid-19 cases has seen patients’ families taking to social media to beg for oxygen supplies and locations of available hospital beds and has forced the capital New Delhi to extend a week-long lockdown.
In India, more than 350,000 infections were reported within 24 hours on Monday, more than any country has reported in that timespan. With its 1.3 billion inhabitants, India has recorded a total of more than 17 million infections.
The British, South African, and Brazilian variants of Covid-19 have all been classified by the WHO as “variants of concern.”
The newest variant was first detected in India on December 1, 2020.
According to WHO, a variant is considered worrying if it spreads more easily, causes more serious cases of the disease, bypasses the immune system, or reduces the effectiveness of known treatments.
”Overall, the number of reported infections per week has been increasing for nine weeks, while the number of reported deaths has been increasing for six weeks”, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Monday.
The WHO did not have the latest number of infections reported within a week on its website as of Tuesday. On April 19, it reported almost 5.7 million cases worldwide within a week, some 400,000 more than the week before.
On their other platform, which contains genetic sequences of influenza and the coronavirus, more than 850 sequences of Covid-19 from more than 18 countries had been uploaded by April 23. Most came from India, Britain, the US, and Singapore.
However, this does not give an accurate picture of the distribution, as many countries sequence significantly less, others not at all due to a lack of capacity.