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Source: World Vision

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days.

Andrew Morley, World Vision International President and CEO, said: “I’m truly heartbroken by the devastating wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping India, and its impact on millions of children in particular. We will continue doing everything in our power to support the most vulnerable. This includes working to combat scepticism about vaccines, and pressing for fair and equitable vaccine distribution.”

World Vision has already reached 4.8 million people in India with aid targeted to help the poorest cope with the economic impacts of earlier lockdowns and COVID-19 prevention efforts. The agency is now warning that an explosion of COVID-19 risks spreading out from hotspots, like Delhi where hospitals have been overwhelmed and run short of oxygen, into poorer populous states where health services are weaker. Hesitancy, misinformation, and an expected vaccine shortage are also affecting vaccine roll-out efforts.

World Vision India’s national director, Madhav Bellamkonda, said: “The recent spike in COVID-19 cases confirms that India is going through one of the toughest phases in the crisis. It is imperative that people follow government advice and the prevention and vaccine advocacy messages that World Vision India has been sharing in order to reduce transmission. But the reality of crowded cities, mobility of people not following government mandated precautions, and the emergence of new strains has made the control efforts harder.”

World Vision is redoubling efforts to support hospitals, health centres, and communities with personal protective equipment, surgical masks, sanitiser, and continued support for vulnerable families with cash and voucher assistance to ensure they can access food during shutdowns.

The NGO also warns that the pandemic that continues to intensify worldwide. Globally, cases have now increased for the ninth straight week, with Asia and the Western Pacific are seeing the largest rise. There were almost as many cases globally last week as in the first five months of the pandemic. World Vision is closely monitoring countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Syria, and Papua New Guinea where new spikes in caseloads have been emerging.

“While some nations are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, it is clear many parts of the world are yet to face their worst moments. We will be there, supporting and empowering children and the communities they live in, throughout,” Mr Morley said.