COVID-19: WHO warns 'early stages' third wave amid Delta variant surge
In a speech about COVID-19, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday warned, "Unfortunately...we are now in the early stages of a third wave."
"The Delta variant is present in more than 111 countries, and if it isn't already, we expect it to become the main COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide soon," he said.
"The expansion of the Delta variant, together with increased social mobility and inconsistent application of proven public health measures, is driving an increase in both case numbers and deaths," the WHO's chief said.
Last week was the fourth week in a row that COVID-19 instances increased globally, with rises in all but one of the WHO's six regions.
Deaths are also on the rise again, following 10 weeks of steady decline.
Delta plus more transmissible than Delta
Sub-lineages of the Delta variant — AY.1, which is commonly known as the Delta Plus, and AY.2---are unlikely to be more transmissible than the parent, said INSACOG, a consortium of government panels involved in genome sequencing of coronavirus.
These two sub-lineages are also below 1 per cent in the genome samples sequenced in the country in June, it said in a recent bulletin.
INSACOG also said AY.3 has been identified as a new Delta sub-lineage and it is defined by ORF1a: I3731V common AY.1 mutations except for S: K417.