Covid deaths fell 17% last week, but cases rising: WHO

Geneva: The number of new Coronavirus deaths reported worldwide fell by 17% in the last week while COVID-19 infections rose, reversing a decline in cases that first began in January, according to the World Health Organisation.

In the UN health agency's weekly report on the pandemic issued late Tuesday, WHO said there were more than 11 million new COVID-19 infections last week - about an 8% rise - and 43,000 new deaths. The number of COVID-19 deaths globally has been dropping for the past three weeks. The biggest increase in cases were seen in the Western Pacific and Africa, where infections rose by 29% and 12% respectively. Elsewhere, cases dropped by more than 20% in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas. In Europe, cases inched up by about 2%.

WHO said those numbers should be interpreted with caution. It noted that many countries are changing their COVID-19 testing strategies as they exit the acute phase of the pandemic, and are testing far less than previously, meaning that many new cases are going undetected. In recent weeks, countries including Sweden and the UK have announced plans to drop widespread testing for COVID-19, saying the massive investment is no longer worth the effort. Still, infections, hospitalisations and deaths have increased slightly in Britain.

China banned most people from leaving a Coronavirus-hit northeastern province.

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