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Just tip of iceberg: WHO chief cites key reasons for massive COVID surge in Asia. Read here

WHO chief warning comes as China reported 5,280 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, more than double the previous day's tally and the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic. (Reuters)Premium
WHO chief warning comes as China reported 5,280 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, more than double the previous day's tally and the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic. (Reuters)

  • These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg, WHO chief said

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Sounding a warning regarding another massive coronavirus wave, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asserted after several weeks of declines, reported cases of COVID19 are once again increasing globally, esp. in parts of Asia.

“These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg. And we know that when COVID19 cases increase, so do deaths."

Continued local outbreaks & surges are to be expected, particularly in areas where measures to prevent transmission have been lifted. However, there are unacceptably high levels of COVID19 mortality in many countries, especially where vaccination levels are low among susceptible populations, he also adds.

Each country is facing a different situation with different challenges, but the COVID19 pandemic is not over. We call on all countries to remain vigilant. Continue to vaccinate, test, sequence, provide early care for patients and apply common-sense public health measures to protect health workers & the public, he urged nations.

New infections jumped by 8%

This comes as new infections jumped by 8% globally last week, compared to the previous week.

As per WHO, the number of new coronavirus deaths reported worldwide fell by 17% in the last week while COVID-19 infections rose, reversing a decline in cases that first began in January.

In its weekly report on the pandemic, WHO said there were more than 11 million new COVID-19 infections last week - about an 8% rise - and 43,000 new deaths. The number of COVID-19 deaths globally has been dropping for the past three weeks.

The biggest increase in cases were seen in the Western Pacific and Africa, where infections rose by 29% and 12% respectively. Elsewhere, cases dropped by more than 20% in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas. In Europe, cases inched up by about 2%.

China reported 5,280 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, more than double the previous day's tally and the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic.

Many cases are undetected

Sounding a caution, WHO noted that many countries are changing their COVID-19 testing strategies as they exit the acute phase of the pandemic, and are testing far less than previously, meaning that many new cases are going undetected.

In recent weeks, countries including Sweden and the U.K. have announced plans to drop widespread testing for COVID-19, saying the massive investment is no longer worth the effort. Still, infections, hospitalizations and deaths have increased slightly in Britain, driven by the more infectious omicron subvariant BA.2. Another contributing factor has been the suspension of nearly all COVID-19 protocols as more people abandon masks and gather in larger numbers.

 

 

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