#The WHO said that new infections jumped by 8% globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and just over 43,000 new deaths reported from 7 to 13 March.
After more than a month of reduction, Covid cases began to rise globally last week, according to the WHO, with China’s Jilin province trying to manage the outbreak. Just a few days ago, the WHO had noted that the countries were reporting a reduced and incorrect way of testing.
The surge is caused by a combination of factors, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its BA.2 sublineage, and the lifting of public health and social measures.
The WHO said new infections jumped by 8 per cent globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and just over 43,000 new deaths reported from March 7-13. It is the first rise since the end of January. The biggest jump includes South Korea and China, where cases rose by 25 per cent and deaths by 27 per cent.
“These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we’re seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” WHO’s head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO chief also said the problem of low vaccination rate and “huge amount of misinformation”, also explained the rise.
Africa also saw a 12 per cent rise in new cases and a 14 per cent rise in deaths, and Europe a 2 per cent rise in cases but no jump in deaths. Other regions reported declining cases, including the eastern Mediterranean region, although this area saw a 38 per cent rise in deaths linked to a previous spike in infections.
Experts have raised concerns that Europe might face another coronavirus wave as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the UK might see a rise in the cases.
WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove said at the briefing that BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible variant.
However, there are no signs that it causes more severe disease and no evidence that any other new variants are driving the rise in cases. Further, experts have also warned that the US could soon see a similar wave like Europe, driven by BA.2.
“We just have to avoid thinking that Covid is no longer there. And therefore maintain the strictly necessary measures, which are essentially the continuous monitoring and tracking of cases, and the maintenance of the obligation to wear a mask in closed or very crowded places,” Antonella Viola, Professor of immunology at the Italy’s University of Padua said.
As each country is facing a different situation, the WHO has kept cautioning that the pandemic is not over yet, calling on all countries to remain vigilant.
According to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, the virus will “wax and wane” as “it has not settled down into a purely, seasonal or predictable pattern yet,” according to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.
“We need to be very cautious. We need to watch this very carefully, and we need to focus on getting the most vulnerable appropriately vaccinated. And we need to do that as quickly as possible in every country,” he said.