The WHO has warned there is a ‘strong likelihood’ of dangerous Covid variants spreading around the world as they declared the pandemic is ‘nowhere near finished.
An emergency committee of the global health body said the mutant strains will make it even harder for the pandemic to come to an end.
In a statement, the committee said: ‘Despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished.
‘The pandemic continues to evolve with four variants of concern dominating global epidemiology.
‘The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.’
Committee chairman Didier Houssin told reporters that ‘recent trends are worrying’.
He said a year-and-a-half after the WHO first declared a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) – its highest alert level – ‘we are still running after this virus and the virus is still running after us’.
For now, four concerning variants of Covid-19 are dominating the global pandemic picture, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and especially the rapidly-spreading Delta variant first detected in India.
But the committee warned that worse could lie ahead, pointing to ‘the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control’.