The WHO has urged countries to be cautious against the Covid-19 virus. It on Tuesday said that the figures showing a global increase in COVID-19 infections could signal a far bigger problem as some countries are reporting a decline in testing rates.
COVID instances began to rise around the world last week, according to the WHO, after a month of reduction, with lockdowns in Asia and China’s Jilin province struggling to contain an outbreak.
According to the WHO, the increases were caused by a mix of causes, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its BA.2 sublineage, as well as the raising of public health and social policies.
‘These increases are occurring despite declines in testing in some countries, implying that the cases we’re witnessing are only the tip of the iceberg,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, told reporters.
Low vaccination rates in some countries, fueled in part by a ‘massive quantity of misinformation,’ contributed to the spike, according to WHO authorities.
From March 7 to 13, the number of new infections increased by 8 percent globally, with 11 million new cases and little over 43,000 new fatalities reported. It’s the first increase since late January.
The WHO’s Western Pacific area, which includes South Korea and China, saw the highest increase, with cases up 25 percent and deaths up 27 percent.
Africa experienced a 12 percent increase in new cases and a 14 percent increase in deaths, while Europe saw a 2 percent increase in cases but no increase in deaths. Other locations, such as the eastern Mediterranean, saw a decrease in incidence, despite a 38 percent increase in deaths connected to a prior infection spike.
A number of scientists have expressed alarm that Europe is in the midst of another coronavirus outbreak, with cases increasing in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom since the beginning of March.
BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible strain thus far, according to WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove.
However, there are no indications that it causes more severe disease, and there is no evidence that any other new variants are to blame for the increase in instances.
In Europe, the picture is likewise not uniform. In Denmark, for example, a small hike in cases was seen in the first half of February, owing to BA.2, but it immediately dropped.
However, researchers have begun to warn that the United States may soon experience a wave similar to that witnessed in Europe, which might be triggered by BA.2, the easing of restrictions, and waning protection from vaccines given several months ago.
‘I agree with the relaxation of limits because it is no longer an emergency after two years,’ Antonella Viola, an immunology professor at Italy’s University of Padua, said.
‘We only have to keep in mind that COVID is still present. As a result, maintain the strictly necessary procedures, which primarily include continual monitoring and tracking of cases, as well as the requirement to wear a mask in enclosed or extremely crowded areas.’