WHO: New COVID cases decreased for the 3rd week, deaths also decreased

GENEVA – The number of new coronavirus infections around the world fell 21% last week, marking the third consecutive week that the number of COVID-19 infections has declined, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

In the United Nations health agency’s weekly pandemic report, the WHO said there were more than 12 million new coronavirus infections last week. The number of new COVID-19 deaths fell 8% to about 67,000 worldwide, the first weekly drop in deaths since early January.

The Western Pacific was the only region that saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, with a 29% increase, while the number of infections elsewhere decreased significantly. The number of new deaths also increased in the Western Pacific and Africa while falling elsewhere. The highest number of new COVID-19 infections were seen in Russia, Germany, Brazil, the US and South Korea.

WHO says omicron remains the dominant variant worldwide, accounting for more than 99% of sequences shared with the world’s largest virus database. It indicates delta as the only other variant that is significant, comprising less than 1% of the shared sequences.

WHO also reports that currently available vaccine evidence shows “significantly enhanced (vaccination) enhancement” against the omicron variant, but more details on the duration of protection are needed. That defense lasts.

The agency earlier said there was no evidence that boosters were necessary for healthy people and begged rich countries not to give a third dose to their own people before sharing them with poorer countries. than.

Health officials have noted that omicrons cause milder illness than earlier COVID-19 variants, and that in countries with high vaccination rates, omicrons have spread widely but have resulted in hospitalizations and deaths. COVID-19 did not increase significantly.

However, scientists warn that it is still possible that many transmissible and deadly variants of COVID-19 could still emerge if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Kluge said the region was now entering a “reasonable game” on the virus, and said there was now a “rare opportunity” for authorities to grade the virus. end the acute phase of the pandemic.

This week, Britain announced it would remove all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including requiring those with the illness to self-isolate, even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged there could be deadly variants. people in the future of the virus. Earlier this month, Sweden abandoned large-scale testing for COVID-19 even in people with symptoms, saying its testing and pandemic-restricting costs are “no longer justifiable.” .

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s leader announced Tuesday that the city will test its entire population of 7.5 million for COVID-19 three times in March as it grapples with the outbreak. worst, fueled by highly contagious omicron variation.

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