COVID-19 infections have increased for the ninth consecutive week globally while variants continue their spread, the UN health agency has confirmed.
The number of deaths from the virus also increased – now for the sixth consecutive week - with more than 87,000 confirmed victims.
Southeast Asia spike
All parts of the world reported falling numbers of infections, apart from Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.
And although Southeast Asia reported the highest increases in infections and deaths for the third week in a row, it was India that accounted for the vast majority of cases, with 2.17 million new cases - a 52 per cent increase.
This is the equivalent of nearly four in 10 global cases reported in the past week, followed by the United States (with 406,001 new cases, representing a 15 per cent decrease), Brazil (404,623 new cases, a 12 per cent decrease), Turkey (378,771 cases, a nine per cent decrease) and France (211,674 new cases, a nine per cent decrease).
On the three known coronavirus variants of concern, WHO said that the so-called UK strain has been detected and verified in three more countries since last week, bringing the total to 139; that’s effectively most of the world, except Greenland and several central and southern African nations.
The South African origin variant is in 87 countries and the mutations first found in Brazil and Japan, has been reported in 54.
Monitoring is ongoing into seven other so-called “variants of interest”, the UN health agency said.
Globally, there have been more than 148 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3.1 million deaths, according to WHO.
As of 27 April 2021, a total of 961,231,417 vaccine doses have been administered.