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Covid-19: WHO reserves judgment on Indian coronavirus variant | India News

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GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against jumping to conclusions about a new coronavirus variant discovered in India, saying it had not yet classified it as worrisome.
A WHO spokeswoman said it was unclear at this time to what extent the variant was responsible for the rapid increase in cases in India in recent months, the DPA news agency reported.
There are many factors that could have contributed to this, he said. For example, festivals and other events with many participants may have accelerated infections.
The British variant of the coronavirus may also be affecting the epidemiological situation in India.
In India, more than 350,000 infections were reported in the 24 hours of Monday, more than any country has reported in that time period. 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 been classified by the WHO as “worrisome variants”.
The newer variant was first detected in India on December 1, 2020. According to the WHO, a variant is considered of concern if it spreads more easily, causes more severe cases of the disease, bypasses the immune system or reduces the effectiveness of known treatments.
Overall, the number of reported infections per week has risen for nine weeks, while the number of reported deaths has risen for six weeks, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Monday.
“There were almost as many cases last week as there were in the first five months of the pandemic combined,” Tedros said. In India in particular, the situation is “more than heartbreaking.”
The WHO did not have the latest number of infections reported in a week on its website as of Tuesday. On April 19, it reported nearly 5.7 million cases worldwide in one week, about 400,000 more than the previous week.
On the Gisaid platform, which contains influenza and coronavirus genetic sequences, more than 850 Covid-19 sequences from more than 18 countries had been uploaded as of April 23. Most came from India, Great Britain, the United States 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 lack of capacity.

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