The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the coronavirus pandemic could be speeding up worldwide, with new cases soaring last week to a fresh seven-day record of almost two million.
During the week ending September 20, as many as 1,998,897 new cases of the novel coronavirus were registered around the world, the WHO said, in a global update published late Monday. That marks a six-percent increase over a week earlier, the UN health agency said, adding it is also “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic.”
The WHO cited the rise in nearly all regions of the world, noting that only Africa reported a 12-percent drop in new cases from a week earlier. Europe and the Americas reported spikes in new cases last week, of 11 and 10 percent respectively.
At the same time, worldwide, the number of new deaths is going down, WHO statistics show. Some 37,700 new deaths linked to the pandemic were recorded globally last week, a decline of 10 percent compared to the previous period. In the Americas, new deaths were at 22 percent lower than a week earlier, and in Africa new deaths dropped 16 percent.
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The Americas currently account for half of all the world’s cases and 55 percent of its deaths, with the United States and Brazil each reporting the highest number of fatalities – over 5,000 – in the past week. In Europe, however, the death count crossed 4,000 over a seven-day period, showing a 27 per cent increase compared to the previous period.
France, Russia, Spain and Britain reported the highest number of fresh cases last week in Europe, while the highest increases in deaths were in Hungary and Denmark. Britain, for its part, has recorded the highest number of cumulative deaths on the continent, which stood at nearly 42,000 since the pandemic began, the WHO said.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 31 million people around the globe since the start of the pandemic last year, killing nearly 962,000, according to an AFP tally.
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