(Geneva) – The number of new coronavirus infections increased by 18% last week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organization.
The United Nations health agency said in its latest weekly report on the pandemic that the worldwide death toll remained roughly the same as last week, at about 8,500. COVID-related deaths increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.
According to the report published late Wednesday, the number of new COVID-19 infections increased the most weekly in the Middle East, where they increased by 47%. The WHO said infections increased by about 32% in Europe and Southeast Asia, and about 14% in the Americas.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cases are increasing in 110 countries, mainly due to Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
“This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over,” Tedros said at a press conference this week. He said the ability to track COVID-19’s genetic evolution was being “threatened” as countries loosened surveillance and gene sequencing efforts, and warned that this would make detection more difficult. New and potentially dangerous variants become more difficult.
He urged countries to vaccinate their most vulnerable populations, including healthcare workers and those over 60, saying hundreds of millions of people remain unvaccinated and at risk. serious illness and death.
Tedros said that while more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been used globally, the average vaccination rate in poor countries is about 13%.
“If rich countries are vaccinating children as young as six months old and plan to carry out follow-up vaccinations, it is confusing to assume that lower income countries should not vaccinate and strengthen those most at risk (people).
According to figures compiled by Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, less than half of the 2.1 billion vaccines promised by the Group of Seven major economies to poorer countries have been delivered.
Earlier this month, the United States authorized COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschool children, implemented a national immunization plan targeting the youngest 18 million children. U.S. regulators also recommend that some adults should boosters update in the fall match the latest coronavirus variants.
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