According to WHO | COVID-19 cases are increasing worldwide

(Geneva) The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 18% last week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Posted at 8:43am

The UN health agency said in its latest weekly pandemic report that the global death toll remained relatively comparable to the previous week at around 8,500. COVID-related deaths rose in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

The biggest weekly spike in new COVID-19 cases was seen in the Middle East, where they rose 47%, according to the report released Wednesday night. According to the WHO, infections in Europe and Southeast Asia rose by around 32% and in America by around 14%.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cases are increasing in 110 countries, mainly due to the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

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

He urged countries to immunize their most vulnerable populations, including healthcare workers and people over 60, and said hundreds of millions of people were still unvaccinated and at risk of serious illnesses and diseases.

Mr Tedros pointed out that while more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, the average vaccination rate in poor countries is around 13%.

“When rich countries vaccinate children as young as 6 months and plan to offer more rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that low-income countries should not vaccinate and empower their most vulnerable (people),” he explained.

Less than half of the 2.1 billion vaccines promised to the poorest countries by the major Group of Seven economies have been delivered, according to Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

Earlier this month, the United States approved COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers and rolled out a nationwide immunization schedule targeting 18 million of the youngest children. US regulators have also recommended that some adults receive booster doses adjusted to the latest coronavirus variants in the fall.

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