WHO: World sees record weekly number of Covid-19 cases, deaths down

While Europe and the US continue to see new cases emerging, Africa reported a 12% drop in them


GENEVA • The coronavirus pandemic appears to be accelerating worldwide, with new cases soaring last week to a new seven-day high of almost two million, even as new deaths decreased, World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics showed.

In a fresh global update, WHO said on late Monday that during the week ending of Sept 20, almost two million of Covid-19 new cases were registered worldwide.

That marks a 6% increase over a week earlier and “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic”, the United Nations health agency said.

Since the Covid-19 first surfaced in China late last year, it has infected more than 31 million people around the globe and has killed nearly 962,000, according to an AFP tally from official sources on Monday.

Nearly all the regions of the world saw new cases rise last week, WHO said, with Europe and the US seeing new cases swell by 11% and 10% respectively.

Only Africa, which has remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic, dodged the upward trend, reporting a 12% drop in fresh cases from a week earlier.

Even as cases shot up across much of the world, the number of new deaths are going down, the WHO statistics showed.

Last week, some 37,700 new deaths linked to the virus were recorded worldwide, marking a decline of 10% compared to the previous week.

The decline was driven by the US, long the hardest-hit region, where new deaths were 22% lower than a week earlier and by Africa where new deaths dropped 16%. However, the US still accounts for half of all the reported cases and 55% of deaths in the world. The clear drop in new deaths in the region was driven mainly by decreases in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia.

The US, which is the world’s worst-hit country, and Brazil, the second-worst hit, continued to report the highest number of deaths, each reporting over 5,000 new deaths in the past week.

Europe, some of which are experiencing a second wave of infections, saw its new death count shoot up to over 4,000 for the seven-day period, a 27% hike compared to a week earlier.

In Europe, France, Russia, Spain and the UK reported the highest number of new cases in the past week, while Hungary and Denmark reported the highest relative increase in deaths.

The UK continues to count the highest number of cumulative deaths on the continent at nearly 42,000 since the beginning of the pandemic. — AFP