The Delta variant of the coronavirus, first detected in India, has been detected in neighboring Sri Lanka.
“It is the worst we could have imaged at such a time,” Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, director of the Allergy, Immunity and Cell Biology Unit at the Sri Jayewardenepura University, told The Hindu newspaper. “We are already dealing with a spike in cases with the Alpha variant. Delta poses a greater risk because our vaccine coverage is low, and among those who are vaccinated a majority have got only one dose.”
According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, Sri Lanka, a nation of about 22 million people, has more than 233,000 COVID cases.
Israel’s new government that was sworn in Sunday said Friday it would transfer up to 1.4 million doses of soon-to-expire Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinian authority in exchange for about the same number of doses the authority anticipates getting later this year.
Israel has been criticized for not sharing vaccine with the more than 4 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In South Korea, a delay in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines has pushed the government to offer its residents mixed doses. People who received the Astra Zeneca vaccine as a first dose will now be offered the Pfizer vaccine for the second.
A panel of health care experts say they believe India will likely experience a third surge of coronavirus cases in October. “It will be more controlled” than previous surges, said Dr. Randeep Guleria, director at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, because some people have been inoculated.
On Friday, India reported more than 62,000 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 period. The nation also reported 1,587 COVID-19 deaths, the country’s lowest death toll in 60 days.
In the U.S., Vice President Kamala Harris visited the southeastern city of Atlanta, Georgia Friday to encourage people to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.
About 36% of Georgians have been vaccinated, a rate lower than most U.S. states.
Harris’s visit is part of a White House campaign to get 70% of all U.S. adults at least one dose of a vaccine by Independence Day on July 4.
Johns Hopkins said early Friday it has recorded more than 177 million global COVID-19 cases. The U.S. leads the world in the number of cases with 33.5 million, followed by India with 29.8 million and Brazil with 17.7 million.
Worldwide deaths from the disease have now topped 3.84 million.
Johns Hopkins also said 2.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered.