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Global COVID surge slows but quickens in multiple countries

The steady global rise in COVID-19 cases slowed last week, with cases up 5% compared with the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its weekly update on the pandemic. However, countries reported more than 21 million new cases, marking the highest weekly total since the pandemic began.

New surges under way in more countries

The Eastern Mediterranean region reported the biggest rise last week, with the steepest increases reported from Iraq and Afghanistan. Cases were also up sharply in the South East Asia region, with the largest spikes in Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. COVID-19 activity was also up in the European region, with the biggest jumps reported by Kosovo, Moldova, and Armenia.

The five countries that added the most cases to the global total were the United States, France, India, Italy, and Brazil. Deaths remained similar to the previous week, and the WHO received reports of nearly 50,000 fatalities last week.

Of genetic sequences uploaded to the GISAID database over the past month, 89.1% were the Omicron variant. Of Omicron sequences uploaded as of Jan 25, the parent lineage BA.1 accounted for 98.8%. However, a number of countries have reported increases in the proportion of BA.2 sublineage sequences, the WHO said. It added that it is monitoring all Omicron sublineages under the Omicron "umbrella."

Countries that saw rapid Omicron rises in November and December are now experiencing declining cases, according to the WHO.

At a briefing today, officials from the WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said though cases declined in the United States, activity rose sharply in southern Mexico, parts of Central America, and South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, the

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The steady global rise in COVID-19 cases slowed last week, with cases up 5% compared with the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its weekly update on the pandemic. However, countries reported more than 21 million new cases, marking the highest weekly total since the pandemic began.
Following an initial licensing deal in October between the United Nations–based Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and Merck to allow pharmaceutical companies in other countries to make molnupiravir, an oral antiviral for treating COVID-19, the MPP today announced agreements with 27 generic makers.

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