Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said on Monday that there is evidence to suggest it spreads more easily than some other forms of the disease.
“We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level. There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility,” she told a briefing in Geneva.
The WHO update comes as India remains in the grip of a deadly second wave, with Reuters estimating that the country accounts for one in every three daily Covid-19 deaths. The latest health ministry figures showed a 329,942 jump in infection numbers and another 3,876 fatalities.
Over in the UK, hundreds of doctors who have worked on the frontline during the pandemic have been told they will not have jobs from August.
Almost 700 anaesthetists have been dropped by the NHS due to a shortage of places. One toldThe Independent that the decision was a “slap in the face”, adding that he felt “let down” after working so hard during the coronavirus crisis.
New coronavirus variants are ‘biggest risk’ to lockdown easing, says Hancock
The emergence of a new coronavirus variant is the the “biggest risk” to England’s route out of lockdown, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.
The minister told BBC Breakfast: “There is no doubt that a new variant is the biggest risk. We have this variant that was first seen in India – the so-called Indian variant – we have seen that grow.
“We are putting a lot of resources into tackling it to make sure everybody who gets that particular variant gets extra support and intervention to make sure that it isn’t passed on.
“However, there is also, thankfully, no evidence that the vaccine doesn’t work against it.”
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 09:20
EU wants 120m AstraZeneca doses by end of June
The European Union wants to receive 120 million AstraZeneca doses before July and 300 million before October, one of its lawyers has told a Belgian court.
Under the terms of their contract, the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm was supposed to deliver 300 million doses to the bloc by the end of June. So far, the EU has only had 50 million.
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 09:00
Countries need to prepare for possibility of ‘vaccine-evading variants’, warns WHO
Variants, increased social mixing and the inequitable global vaccine rollout are all contributing to coronavirus transmission, the head of the World Health Organization has warned.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Even in countries with the higest vaccination rates, public health capacities must be strengthened to prepare for the possibility of vaccine-evading variants, and for future emergencies.”
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 08:45
Everest authorities tell climbers to bring back oxygen canisters amid Nepal’s shortage
India’s neighbour Nepal is also struggling with a massive oxygen crisis in its hospitals.
As a result, the Nepal Mountaineering Association has urged climbers to bring back oxygen canisters from Everest rather than discarding them there.
Maroosha Muzaffar has the details:
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 08:30
Indian variant ‘of concern globally’, says WHO
The Indian coronavirus variant is of global concern, the World Health Organisation (WHO)has declared.
“We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on coronavirus, said on Monday. “There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility.”
The announcement comes as a India continues to suffer enormously from its second wave of the disease, with 329,942 new Covid-19 cases and a further 3,876 deaths reported on Tuesday.
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 08:15
Hundreds of frontline doctors miss out on NHS jobs
Almost 700 frontline Covid doctors will be dropped from an NHS training scheme due to a shortage of places, it has been revealed.
One of affected doctor toldThe Independent: “Months and months of training have been taken away from me. We had to do it, but also the NHS asked us to do it and now it’s like, ‘Thanks very much, you don’t get a job.’ It’s like a real slap in the face.”
Our health correspondentShaun Lintern reports:
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 08:02
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coronavirus coverage.
Rory Sullivan11 May 2021 08:02