Geneva, Nov 17 (IANS) The delta variant now represents 99 per cent of all sequenced Covid-19 cases across the globe, making it most prevalent than any other strain, officials from the World Health Organization said.
According to Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on Covid, almost all of the up to 900,000 Covid cases sequenced worldwide over the last 60 days originated from the delta strain, CNBC reported.
Van Kerkhove's comments come amid an international increase in Covid infections driven by surging cases in Europe. The Continent accounted for roughly 60 per cent of the more than 3.3 million new cases in the world last week, Van Kerkhove said.
"Delta is really the dominant one," Van Kerkhove said. "And there are two variants of interest - mu and lambda - that we've been tracking as well, but again, where delta is present, delta takes over."
Van Kerkhove said Europe represented more than half of the just under 50,000 global Covid deaths in the last week, a 5 per cent increase in fatalities across the Continent. Covid cases worldwide have been increasing over the last four consecutive weeks, she added.
"The pandemic is heading in the wrong direction at the moment," Van Kerkhove said.
The decreased use of masks and social distancing are to blame for Europe's surge, Van Kerkhove said at a briefing last week. She cautioned on Tuesday that societies reopening across the Northern Hemisphere this winter could lead to a rise in respiratory illnesses over the months ahead, including influenza and other pathogens, the report said.
In its weekly epidemiological update, the WHO said that the increasing trend in new global weekly cases continued with over 3.3 million new cases reported -- a 6 per cent increase as compared to the previous week.
The Region of the Americas, the European and the Western Pacific Regions all reported increases in new weekly cases as compared to the previous week, while all other regions reported stable or declining trends.
Globally, just under-50,000 new deaths were reported, similar to the previous week. As of 14 November, over 252 million confirmed cases and over 5 million deaths have been reported.