Nearly all over the world, COVID-19 cases are on the rise: WHO

GENEVA –

According to the World Health Organization, the number of new coronavirus cases has risen 18 percent in the past week, with more than 4.1 million cases worldwide.

The UN health agency said in its latest weekly report on the pandemic that the global number of deaths remained relatively the same as the week before, at about 8,500. The number of COVID-related deaths increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

The largest weekly rise in new COVID-19 cases was seen in the Middle East, where they increased by 47 percent, according to the report released late Wednesday. The number of infections rose by about 32 percent in Europe and Southeast Asia, and by about 14 percent in the Americas, the WHO said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases was increasing in 110 countries, mainly caused by the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

“This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over yet,” Tedros said at a news conference this week. He said the ability to track the genetic evolution of COVID-19 was “under threat” as countries relaxed surveillance and genetic sequencing efforts, warning that it would become more difficult to identify emerging and potentially dangerous new variants. to catch.

He called on countries to immunize their most vulnerable populations, including health professionals and those over 60, and said hundreds of millions are unvaccinated and at risk of serious illness and death.

Tedros said that while more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, the average immunization rate in poor countries is about 13 percent.

“If rich countries are vaccinating children as young as six months old and planning to do even more rounds of vaccinations, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and encourage their most at-risk (people),” he said. .

According to figures from Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, less than half of the 2.1 billion vaccines promised to poorer countries by the Group of Seven major economies have been delivered.

Earlier this month, the United States approved COVID-19 vaccines for infants and toddlers, rolling out a national immunization plan targeting 18 million of the youngest children. U.S. regulators have also recommended that some adults get updated boosters in the fall to match the latest coronavirus strains.

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