A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a store,

Globally coronavirus deaths up 21% in last week, says WHO

Image Source : AP

A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a store, in Los Angeles.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21% in the last week.

Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia. The UN health agency also noted that COVID-19 cases rose by 8 per cent worldwide and that there are now nearly 194 million infections.

WHO said that “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks.”

It added that the number of COVID-19 deaths increased in all regions except for Europe.

The biggest numbers of cases were reported in the US, Brazil, Indonesia, the UK and India.

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Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry Wednesday said there is no room for complacency in the approach to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as the absolute number of positive cases is still significantly high.

Extending the existing pandemic guidelines till August 31, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also said there should be continuous focus on the five-fold strategy of ‘test, track, treat, vaccinate and adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour’ for effective management of COVID-19.

He also said there is a need to ensure adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places in view of the upcoming festivals.

In his communication to all states and union territories, Bhalla said that with the decline in the number of active cases, states and UTs are reopening economic and other activities in a gradual manner.

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“While the decline in the number of cases is a matter of satisfaction, it may be noted that the absolute case numbers are still significantly high,” he said.

Therefore, the home secretary said, there is no room for complacency and the process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated, as has been reiterated in his earlier communications.

Bhalla said the reproduction number of the virus, commonly known as the ‘R’ factor, is hovering just below 1 but is high in some of the states.

Referring to his letter dated July 14, the home secretary said all efforts should be made to ensure that there is no increase in the ‘R’ factor.

“Further, strictest possible measures should be taken in the districts that are still showing high positivity rates.

“In view of the upcoming festivals, there is need to ensure COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places,” he said.

Bhalla urged state governments and UT administrations to issue strict directions to the district and all other local authorities to take necessary measures for COVID-19 management.

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