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Covid deaths jump by 40%, cases falling globally: WHO

Covid deaths jump by 40%, cases falling globally: WHO
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Geneva/New Delhi: The number of people killed by the Coronavirus surged by more than 40% last week, likely due to changes in how Covid deaths were reported across the Americas and by newly adjusted figures from India, according to a World Health Organisation report released on Wednesday.

In its latest weekly report on the pandemic, the UN health agency said the number of new cases fell everywhere, including in WHO's Western Pacific region, where they had been rising since December.

About 10 million new COVID-19 infections and more than 45,000 deaths were reported worldwide over the past week, following a 23% drop in fatalities the week before.

The jump in reported deaths, up from 33,000 last week, was due mainly to an accounting change; WHO noted that countries, including Chile and the United States, altered how they define Covid deaths.

In addition, more than 4,000 deaths from Maharashtra state in India that initially weren't included among the COVID-19 death toll were added last week, according to WHO.

With 1,233 new Coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of cases rose to 4,30,23,215, while the active cases dipped to 14,704, according to the Union Health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The death toll climbed to 5,21,101 with 31 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 184 crore on Wednesday, according to the Union Health ministry.

More than 19 lakh (19,24,770) vaccine doses were administered till 7 pm on Wednesday, the ministry said, adding that the daily vaccination tally is expected to go up with the compilation of the final reports by late night.

WHO has said repeatedly that COVID-19 case counts are likely a vast underestimate of the pandemic's prevalence. The agency cautioned countries in recent weeks against dropping their comprehensive testing and other surveillance measures, saying that doing so would cripple efforts to accurately track the spread of the virus.

Data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely and less robust, WHO said. "This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic." The agency warned that less surveillance would particularly harm efforts to detect new Covid variants and undermine a potential response.

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