The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that although there was a declining trend in the number of new global COVID-19 cases last week, the number of weekly deaths associated with the virus has increased.
In its weekly epidemiological update, the WHO said that the number of new weekly deaths increased by 43 percent in the week from 21 March to 27 March, an increase driven by “changes in the definition of COVID-19 deaths in countries in the region of South America and retrospective adjustments reported from India to the Southeast Asia region. “
Chile, the US, India, Russia and South Korea were at the top of the list with the highest number of new weekly deaths reported, according to the WHO.
The report added that the number of new cases saw a 14 percent decrease during the same week, compared to the previous week.
The international body added that more than 10 million new cases and more than 45,000 new deaths have been reported in the six WHO regions.
However, the WHO has insisted on caution in interpreting recent trends, noting that several countries are “gradually changing” their COVID-19 testing strategies, which could lead to a lower overall number of tests performed and consequently a lower number of cases detected.
According to the WHO, despite a general decrease in the rate of COVID-19 testing observed across the six WHO regions, the number of new weekly cases increased again early to mid-March, indicating that “the virus is currently circulating at very high levels. ”
“Data is gradually becoming less representative, less timely and less robust. It inhibits our combined ability to detect where the virus is, how it spreads and how it develops: information and analyzes that remain critical to the acute phase of the pandemic.” reads the report.
It further warned countries against reducing the quality of supervision, saying doing so could lead to an increase in hospitalization and deaths, placing a strain on healthcare systems and countries’ ability to detect new variants early and on to react, harmed.
“COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern,” the report said.
The WHO recommended that member states focus on early warning and trend monitoring, which could warn of a change in the transmission dynamics of the virus, and continue the daily tracking and reporting of cases and deaths for the duration of “the acute phase of the pandemic” . “
The WHO also advocated that countries improve their genomic surveillance to detect variants and monitor the evolution of the coronavirus.
The report came as the WHO said last week that omicron sub-variant BA.2 is the predominant COVID-19 variant that causes infections around the world.
As of Sunday, more than 479 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 6 million deaths have been reported worldwide since the pandemic began, the report said.