The World Health Organization (WHO) has disclosed that the United Kingdom coronavirus strain has spread to at least 60 countries, saying the tally was a testament to its earlier alarm on the depth of the virus’s destructive ability.
It explained that the spread of the new variant to 60 countries, particularly during such times the world was facing its second wave, was disturbing and that there was need for an effective and coordinated global response against the virus.
The global health body report was released shortly after the US President-elect Joe Biden led a moving tribute to American victims.
Covid-19 has claimed more than two million lives globally since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan more than a year ago, while the total number of reported cases is edging towards 100 million.
The arrival of mass inoculation drives in the United States, Europe, and Asia had brought hope that the end of the epidemic was in sight.
But deep concern over new variants of the deadly pathogen has triggered governments around the world to toughen constraints on restriction-weary populations as officials grapple with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.
In its weekly update, the WHO announced the strain first found in the UK was now in 10 more countries than seven days ago.
It said the South African variant — which similarly is believed to be more transmissible — has been reported in 23 countries and territories.
The number of new deaths climbed to a record high of 93,000 over the previous week, it added, with 4.7 million new cases reported over the same period.