United Nations on Thursday said that the deadly wave of COVID-19 Delta variant stole 240,000 lives in India between April and June in 2021 and disrupted economic recovery and warned that “similar episodes” could take place in the near term.
The report, United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2022, said that the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 unleashes new waves of infections, the human and economic toll of the pandemic are projected to increase again.
“In India, a deadly wave of infection with the Delta variant stole 240,000 lives between April and June and disrupted economic recovery. Similar episodes could take place in the near term,” said the report.
“Without a coordinated and sustained global approach to contain COVID-19 that includes universal access to vaccines, the pandemic will continue to pose the greatest risk to an inclusive and sustainable recovery of the world economy,” said Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
During the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic, India had witnessed a devastating situation, with the number of deaths increasing exponentially and the spike in infections burdening the healthcare infrastructure across the country. Though the infections had decreased with time, India is now witnessing an increase in the number of cases of the Omicron variant.
The report noted that South Asia faces major downside risks that can strengthen headwinds in achieving the 2030 Agenda.
“Relatively slow vaccination progress leaves the region vulnerable to new variants and recurrent outbreaks. Financial constraints and an inadequate global vaccine supply continue to drag down full recovery in some countries,” it said.
As of early December 2021, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan had less than 26 per cent of their populations fully vaccinated. By contrast, the report said the fully vaccinated population is above 64 per cent in Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1,54,61,39,465 vaccinations have been administered so far in India.