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As global Covid cases rise, WHO chief warns it's juts tip of the iceberg

By Yoshita Singh
March 17, 2022 21:51 IST
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Fresh cases of Covid-19 are again spiking globally, especially in parts of Asia, after several weeks of decline and this rise is "just the tip of the iceberg", World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned. 

IMAGE: A healthcare worker inoculates a student with a dose of Covid-19 vaccine during a vaccination drive for the 12-14 age group, Mumbai, March 17, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo.

With each country facing a different situation with different challenges, Ghebreyesus cautioned that the pandemic is not over. 

”We call on all countries to remain vigilant. Continue to vaccinate, test, sequence, provide early care for patients, and apply common-sense public health measures to protect health workers and the public,” he said on Wednesday in Geneva. 

 

”After several weeks of declines, reported cases of Covid-19 are once again increasing globally, especially in parts of Asia. These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” Ghebreyesus said. 

As of March 13, 2022, over 455 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 6 million related deaths have been reported globally. More than 10 billion vaccine doses have been administered. 

The WHO chief said that when cases increase, so do deaths. 

”Continued local outbreaks and surges are to be expected, particularly in areas where measures to prevent transmission have been lifted,” he said, adding that there are unacceptably high levels of mortality in many countries, especially where vaccination levels are low among susceptible populations. 

He also appealed that where vaccines are available, people should get vaccinated. ”And we continue to work night and day to expand access to vaccines everywhere,” he said. 

The Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update released this week said that after a consistent decrease in the number of new Covid-19 cases reported globally on a weekly basis since the end of January 2022, during the week of March 7 through 13, the number of new weekly cases increased by 8 per cent as compared to the previous week. 

At the regional level, the Western Pacific Region, the African Region and the European Region reported an increase in new weekly cases of 29 per cent, 12 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, as compared with the previous week; while a decrease has been reported by the Eastern Mediterranean Region (-24 per cent), the South-East Asia Region (-21 per cent) and the Region of the Americas (-20 per cent). 

The number of new weekly deaths increased in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (38 per cent), the Western Pacific Region (27 per cent), the African Region (14 per cent) and the Region of the Americas (5 per cent), while it remained similar to that of the previous week in the European Region and decreased in the South-East Asia Region (9 per cent). 

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Yoshita Singh in Geneva/United Nations
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