GENEVA – (AP) – The number of reported coronavirus cases worldwide fell for the second week in a row and confirmed deaths from COVID-19 also fell last week, according to a World Health Organization report released. Wednesday.
In its latest pandemic report, the WHO said 9 million cases had been reported, a weekly decline of 16% and more than 26,000 new deaths from COVID-19. The United Nations health agency said confirmed coronavirus infections were down in all regions of the world.
However, he warned that the reported figures carry considerable uncertainty as many countries have stopped large-scale testing for the coronavirus, meaning many cases are likely going undetected.
The WHO said it was also tracking an omicron variant which is a recombination of two versions: BA.1 and BA.2, which was first detected in Britain in January. The WHO said early estimates suggest the recombinant omicron may be around 10% more transmissible than previous mutations, but more evidence is needed.
The agency continued to warn countries not to abandon their COVID-19 protocols too quickly and predicted that future variants could spread easily if monitoring and testing systems are set aside.
Last week, the UK said COVID-19 had reached record levels across the country, with government statistics estimating around 1 in 13 people were infected. These figures came the same day the UK government scrapped its free testing scheme.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities carried out more mass testing this week in Shanghai, which remains in lockdown after a further rise in infections; the city has recorded more than 90,000 cases but no deaths during the pandemic.
Despite growing public frustration and concerns over the economic effects, China says it is sticking to its uncompromising ‘zero tolerance’ approach of imposing lockdowns, mass testing and mandatory isolation of all cases suspects and close contacts. Following a public outcry, authorities in Shanghai said on Wednesday they would allow at least some parents to stay with children infected with COVID-19, making an exception to a policy of isolating anyone who tested positive.
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