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WHO: Cases of COVID-19 are increasing almost everywhere in the world

WHO: Cases of COVID-19 are increasing almost everywhere in the world


GENEVA (AP) The number of new coronavirus cases rose 18% in the past week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organization.

The UN health agency said in its latest weekly report on the pandemic that the number of deaths worldwide remained relatively similar to a week ago, at around 8,500. Deaths from COVID increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

The biggest weekly increase in new COVID-19 cases was seen in the Middle East, where they rose by 47%, according to the report released late Wednesday. Infections increased by about 32% in Europe and Southeast Asia and by about 14% in the Americas, the WHO said.

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

This pandemic is changing, but it is not over, Tedros said this week during a press conference. He said the ability to track the genetic evolution of COVID-19 was under threat after countries relaxed surveillance and genetic sequencing efforts, warning it would make it harder to catch emerging and potentially dangerous new variants.

He called on countries to immunize their most vulnerable populations, including health workers and people over 60, saying hundreds of millions remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious illness and death.

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

If rich countries are vaccinating children from the age of 6 months and plan to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and raise the most vulnerable (people), he said.

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

Earlier this month, the United States authorized vaccines against COVID-19 for infants and preschoolers, creating a national immunization plan targeting 18 million of the youngest children. US regulators also recommended that some adults get updated boosters in the fall that match the latest coronavirus variants.


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