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A United Nations report said on Thursday 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 flagship United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2022 report also said that with the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 unleashing 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, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said.
As per the information by India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1,54,61,39,465 vaccinations have been administered so far.
The second wave of the COVID19 pandemic had wreaked havoc across India as the death toll increased exponentially and spike in infections burdened the healthcare infrastructure in the country. The country is now witnessing an increasing number of cases of the Omicron variant that is soon overtaking the Delta variant of the coronavirus globally.
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 fully vaccinated population is above 64 per cent in Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, the report said.
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