COVID-19 infections approaching highest rates ever, UN health agency warns

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“Around the world, cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates”, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during his regular briefing.

“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic.”

As of April 16, there were 138.5 million cases worldwide, and more than 2.9 million deaths. The pandemic was declared in March 2020.

Tedros said some countries which had previously avoided widespread virus transmission are now witnessing “steep increases” in infections.

Earlier last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Financing for Development Forum that “to end the pandemic for good, we need equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere,” according to the UN News Center

WHO continues assessing the pandemic’s evolution.

Monitoring of the COVID-19 virus variant first detected in India continues, WHO said on Aril 16.

The B 1 617 variant, which has two mutations, emerged at the end of last year and cases have been reported in other countries across Asia and North America.

COVID-19 variants have been reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa, while a third that was first detected in Japan is circulating in Brazil and elsewhere, the UN News Center says.

Dr. Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Technical Lead on COVID-19, said WHO and partners have been bringing together countries, researchers and different networks, to strengthen global monitoring and assessment of the new coronavirus.

COVID-19 vaccines developed so far have been effective against the variants, she added, “but we want to have a system in place should there need to be a change in some of our counter measures going forward.”

Source: Asia-Plus