SWITZERLAND – The global number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing for the last two months, as cases of the Delta variant have been reported in 148 countries, territories or areas, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in its weekly overview report.

With over 4.4 million new cases reported in the past week, the trend is largely attributed to increases in the Western Pacific Region and the Region of the Americas, which reported a rise of 14 percent and 8 percent respectively as compared to the previous week.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reported globally is now over 206 million and the cumulative deaths are almost 4.4 million.

According to the WHO report, the regions with the highest weekly incidence rates of cases per 100,000 population remain the same as last week, namely the Region of the Americas and the European Region, with 147.4 and 121.6 new cases per 100,000 population, respectively.

At the country level, the WHO said, the highest numbers of new cases in the past week were reported by the United States, with 883,996 new cases or a 9 percent increase, followed by Iran (269,975 new cases, 9 percent increase), and India (258,121 new cases, 7 percent decrease).

Meanwhile, the highest numbers of new deaths in the past week were reported by Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, the WHO noted.

Speaking on global vaccination efforts, the WHO reported that 75 percent of the world’s vaccine supply has been administered in only 10 countries while low-income states have vaccinated barely 2 percent of their populations.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom warned at a media briefing on COVID-19 that the world’s response to the pandemic would continue to be divided if rich nations do not consider the situation in the low-income nations.

Adhanom reiterated that there was no need for countries to begin administering booster shots at the expense of supply to low- and middle-income countries.

“The virus is evolving and it is not in the best interests of leaders just to focus on narrow nationalistic goals when we live in an interconnected world and the virus is mutating quickly,” the WHO chief said.

Adhanom expressed concern over reports that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines that were filled and finished in South Africa were leaving the continent for Europe “where virtually all adults have been offered vaccines at this point.”

He called on the J&J to prioritize distribution of their vaccines to Africa before considering supplies to rich countries that already have sufficient access.

The number of COVID-19 infections globally have surpassed the 208.90 million mark, with deaths exceeding 4.38 million.

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