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The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) fell for a third straight week, a trend likely helped by the cancellation of testing and surveillance programs.
The more than 7 million new cases reported were down 24 percent from the previous week, the U.N. health agency said in its latest weekly pandemic report late Tuesday. Global weekly COVID-19 deaths fell 18% to more than 22,000.
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WHO mention The drop “must be interpreted with caution” as many countries where the virus is starting to wane have changed their testing strategies, meaning far fewer cases are detected.
New cases and deaths are falling in all parts of the world, including the Western Pacific, where a surge in infections has prompted China to impose draconian containment measures.
WHO said it was monitoring several mutants of the virus from omicron variants, including some recombinant forms of existing omicron subvariants.
In a separate statement, the health organization said scientists in Botswana and South Africa had detected new forms of omicron variants, labelled BA.4 and BA.5, but it was not known if they were more contagious or dangerous.
To date, new versions of omicron have been detected in 4 individuals in Botswana and 23 individuals in South Africa. Outside Africa, scientists have confirmed cases in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the UK.
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The WHO said that so far, there is no evidence that the new sub-variant spreads differently than the original omicron variant.
“There is no reason to be concerned about the emergence of new sub-variants,” Dr Matthidiso Moiti, WHO’s Africa director, said in a statement. “We have not seen a significant increase in cases, hospitalizations or deaths. . »
The agency is calling on all countries to sequence at least 5% of COVID-19 samples; many, including the UK, Sweden and the US, have recently abandoned broad testing programmes as the number of severe cases plummets.
Yet America will score soon million Deaths from COVID-19 and the virus continue to be a concern in China.
Officials warn Shanghai Despite a “zero tolerance” approach, with some residents confined to their homes for three weeks or more, its recent outbreak of cases involving omicron has not been contained.
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The lockdown has left Shanghai residents frustrated with food shortages and inability to deliver. Censors carefully weeded complaints on social media.
State-controlled media described a successful campaign to deliver food and other supplies, advising residents that “persistence is victory”.