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WHO classifies variant found in India as being of global concern

A family member wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) performs the final rites at a cremation ground for COVID-19 victims in New Delhi, India, May 10, 2021. Calls for a nationwide lockdown have been growing as the number of new COVID-19 infections and related deaths stood close to record highs on May 10. (Idrees Mohammed/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
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Amid a worsening coronavirus catastrophe in India, the World Health Organization said Monday that the variant first identified in the country is being classified as a variant of global concern, after research has indicated that it spreads more easily.

Scientists fear that the variant, known as B.1.617, has fueled the surging outbreak in India, which experts say is probably undercounted. The variant is the fourth to be designated as being of global concern, after variants were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India in October.