Several countries in Asia, including India, have been struggling with mounting cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) even as the threat of the Delta variant is looming large over the continent as well as the entire world. The first case of infection from Delta was identified in India and now the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus is ringing alarm bells across Asia. The pace of Covid-19 vaccination, which experts say is one of the measures to tackle the pandemic, has been slow in the whole of Asia. Along with this, the risk of Delta variant is rising in the entire continent including India.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the world is witnessing a very “dangerous period” compounded by the rapid transmission of the Delta variant. The WHO chief said on Friday that the Delta variant has been detected in at least 98 countries and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many of them. “Compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said during a press conference.
Here are seven Asian countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic:
1. India: In terms of Covid-19 cases, India has the most number of infections in Asia and the second-most in the world. So far, a total of 30.5 million people have contracted Covid-19 and more than 400,000 have died. There are currently 485,350 active cases of Covid-19 in the country and 29.6 million people have recovered. The recovery rate in the country has increased to 96.97%. The weekly positivity rate remains below 5 per cent. In terms of vaccination against Covid-19, so far more than 350 million doses have been administered in the country.
The first case of the Delta Plus was found in India on June 11 and more than 50 cases of the variant have been reported in the country so far.
2. Turkey: Turkey is the second-most affected country after India in Asia. So far, more than 543 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country and 49,829 people have died. At present, there are 80,146 active cases and 530 million people have recovered from Covid-19. So far, 51.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given in Turkey. Turkey banned flights and all direct travel from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka recently in view of the danger of the Delta variant.
3. Iran: Iran is battling the deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the region and has warned it could be hit by yet another wave of infections. “It is feared that we are on the way to a fifth wave throughout the country,” President Hassan Rouhani told a meeting of Iran’s anti-virus taskforce. He also warned people to be careful as “the Delta variant has spread” in southern provinces.
The country has reported more than 3.2 million cases of Covid-19 and 84,516 people have died. There are currently 246,000 active cases of Covid-19 and more than 2.9 million people have recovered. So far 5.72 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Iran.
4. Indonesia: The Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Indonesia and the government has imposed a lockdown in many parts of the country till July 20. Indonesia is the fourth country in the continent of Asia, where corona cases have been found the most. Indonesia’s tally to date stands at 2.25 million cases and 60,027 deaths — making it one of Asia’s worst-hit nations. Only about five per cent of the country’s people have been fully vaccinated with two jabs so far.
5. The Philippines: The Philippines government has said that so far no case of the Delta variant has been reported in the country. There are 142 million people who have contracted Covid-19 in the Philippines and 24,973 have died. There are more than 55,000 active cases in the country and 134.4 million people have been cured. So far, 10.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the country. The government has extended travel restrictions till July 15 for all people coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
6. Iraq: A slow pace of vaccination against Covid-19 has compounded the problems of the country, which has reported 1,340,000 people have been infected and of these, 17,256 have died since the start of its outbreak. There are currently 87,377 active cases in Iraq and 1,255,203 people have been cured so far. Only 805,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Iraq, which is is less than 2.5% of the 40 million of its population. Cases of the Delta variant are rising in Iraq.
7. Pakistan: Pakistan is at number 7 in terms of Covid-19 cases in Asia and 961,085 people have been infected and 22,379 have died. There are currently 32,319 active cases in the country and 906,000 people have recovered from Covid-19. Pakistan has administered 16.3 million vaccine doses. Pakistan has also warned its citizens about the possibility of a fourth wave in view of the Delta variant. The first case of the delta variant was reported in Pakistan on May 28 and in the next week, the country saw more infections in travelers coming from the UAE. Recently, this variant was also found in people who have returned from other Gulf countries.