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Indian virus surge pushes world to record COVID highs

Global daily cases increase by nine percent to 788,000, mainly due to massive spike in India — though pandemic slowed down in all other world regions outside Asia

Indian women stand in a queue to cast votes during a legislative assembly election at Chopra, in Dinajpur district on April 22, 2021. (Diptendu DUTTA / AFP)
Indian women stand in a queue to cast votes during a legislative assembly election at Chopra, in Dinajpur district on April 22, 2021. (Diptendu DUTTA / AFP)

PARIS — India propelled the number of new daily COVID-19 cases worldwide to record levels this week, even though the pandemic slowed down in all other regions of the world outside Asia.

Here is the state of play worldwide, according to a specialized AFP database:

Record new cases

The number of new daily cases recorded globally increased by nine percent this week to a record 788,100, according to an AFP tally Thursday.

The figures have been spiraling for the past two months after an unprecedented fall at the start of the year, when the number of daily cases was slashed by half over a month to around 355,000.

The number of confirmed cases only reflects a fraction of the actual number of infections, as different countries have varying counting practices and levels of testing.

People wait in a queue to receive a coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India on April 22, 2021. (Punit PARANJPE / AFP)

Slowdown, except in Asia

This week’s sky-high figures were mainly down to India, which accounted for more than a third of the cases registered worldwide: 265,200 on average per day, 100,000 more than the previous week.

Largely due to India’s plight, Asia was the only region in the world where cases increased, surging by 51%.

A non-governmental organization volunteer wearing a protective gear urges people in a market to wear facemasks as part of an awareness drive against the spread of the coronavirus in Siliguri, India, on April 23, 2021. (Diptendu DUTTA / AFP)

In all other regions, the pandemic slowed: there were 13% fewer cases in the United States and Canada, 11% fewer in Oceania, 8% in Europe, 5% in Africa, 4% in Latin America and the Caribbean and 3% in the Middle East.

Main spikes

Nepal was by far the country where the pandemic picked up most speed this week, with cases jumping more than twofold or 242% to 1,400 new daily cases, among countries that recorded at least 1,000 new cases daily.

Ecuador followed with 67% more, or 2,100 cases, India 62% or 265,200 cases, Thailand 49% more or 1,500 cases and Georgia 37% more or 1,100 cases.

Biggest drops

Hungary saw the biggest decrease down 38% or 3,400 new cases, followed by Poland where cases fell 38% to 12,700. Then came Bangladesh (minus 30%, 4,100 cases), the Czech Republic (minus 27%, 2,700 cases) and Romania (minus 26%, 2,800 cases).

A woman receives a dose of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a vaccine rollout targeting elderly people in Ronda, Spain on April 23, 2021. (JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

Most cases

After India, the US recorded the most new cases at 60,500, a decrease of 14%. Then Brazil with 60,200 cases, a drop of 10%, Turkey (59,200, up 4%) and France (31,500, down 11%).

On a per-capita basis, Cyprus topped the table with 668 cases per 100,000 inhabitants infected every day.

Israel, which has led the world vaccination drive, has seen its per-capita infection rate drop from 650 at the beginning of the year to less than 10.

Most deaths

Brazil recorded the highest number of fatalities over the past week with an average of 2,580 per day, ahead of India (1,648), the US (699), Poland (508) and Mexico (412).

A health worker treats a COVID-19 patient inside an ICU at the Sao Bento Public Hospital in Abaetetuba, Brazil, on April 23, 2021. (JOAO PAULO GUIMARAES / AFP)

At a world level, the number of deaths increased 1% this week to 12,081 a day. The toll is down however compared to late January when it was skirting 15,000 a day.

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