Geneva: The Delta COVID-19 variant has now been detected in 96 countries, 11 more than last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update.
The Delta variant, also referred to as a "double mutant" because it carries two mutations, is 55 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, initially detected in the UK, and will rapidly become the dominant strain of globally, Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO as saying in the update issued on Wednesday.
Africa has reported many new outbreaks of the variant as Tunisia, Mozambique, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi are among the 11 countries targeted by Delta.
The continent has witnessed a "sharp increase" in new cases and deaths, according to the update.
First detected in October 2020, the Delta variant has several spike mutations that increase its transmissibility and its resistance to neutralizing antibodies and possibly even vaccines.
Furthermore, a recent study conducted in Scotland and published in the international medical journal Lancet found that the hospitalisation rate for patients infected with the Delta variant was 85 per cent higher than for those infected with the Alpha strain.