Fierce new COVID-19 waves are enveloping developing countries across the world, placing severe strain on their health-care systems and prompting appeals for help.

From Laos and Thailand, in Southeast Asia, to those bordering India such as Bhutan and Nepal, nations have been reporting significant surges in infections in the past few weeks.

The increase is mainly because of more contagious virus variants, though complacency and lack of resources to contain the spread have also been cited.