The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will attend a ceremony at WHO headquarters in Geneva on October 18, 2021 to launch a multi-year partnership with Qatar to keep the 2022 FIFA World Cup and mega-sporting events healthy and safe close.
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The global number of Covid-19 cases and deaths is rising for the first time in two months as the virus increases across Europe, World Health Organization officials said at a briefing Thursday.
After weeks of decline, the number of infections in Europe has risen for the last three consecutive weeks, although the number of cases is falling in every other region of the world, according to the WHO. Almost 3 million new Covid cases were reported worldwide for the week ending Sunday, a 4% increase from the previous seven days, according to the latest WHO epidemiological update.
Globally, Covid cases had decreased by 4% the week before, despite a 7% increase across Europe over the same period. The number of cases in Europe has increased by 18% in the last week alone, WHO data shows.
“The global number of reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 is now rising for the first time in two months, driven by a sustained increase in Europe that outweighs declines in other regions,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It’s another reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over.”
Covid has risen sharply in the Czech Republic and Hungary, where the seven-day average of cases through Wednesday rose more than 100% from the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Croatia, Denmark, Norway and Poland each recorded a weekly average increase in cases of more than 70% on Wednesday, JHU found.
Russia reported a record seven-day average of more than 35,800 new cases on Tuesday, 10% more than the week before, according to the JHU. Ukraine’s seven-day average of over 21,900 new cases – a 43% increase from the previous week – was also a pandemic high.
Both countries also recorded record deaths during this period, the JHU calculated.
The evolving Delta variant and the upcoming winter season could also fuel outbreaks, said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical director for Covid. Van Kerkhove said the organization is pursuing more than 30 Delta sub-lines, including the AY.4.2 sub-variant or Delta Plus, a mutation that is gaining ground in the UK and could be even more contagious than the original variant.
“As the winter months begin – when people spend a lot more time indoors, in close proximity, maybe in rooms that don’t have good ventilation – cases will increase,” said Van Kerkhove.
Delta plus has been detected in 42 countries, but 93% of the cases sequenced with the sub-variant are in the UK, according to the WHO. Delta plus has two new adaptations to the spike protein, A222V and Y145H, which allow the virus to enter the body.