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WHO: COVID cases and deaths falling nearly everywhere, except Middle East

The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported globally fell everywhere except the Middle East and Southeast Asia last week, according to a World Health Organization weekly report released today.

In its latest weekly update on the pandemic, the UN health agency says confirmed cases dropped 12% to around 3 million and reported deaths declined 22% to about 7,600.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus describes the continuing decline of COVID-19, which peaked in January, as “a very encouraging trend.” Still, he warns that the pandemic is not yet over and urges caution, even as many countries have dropped their coronavirus protocols and segued into trying to live with the virus.

Tedros notes that 18 months after the first mass coronavirus immunization programs began in rich countries, 68 countries have yet to protect 40% of their populations. While enough vaccines are now available, demand has fallen, he says.

“The perception that the pandemic is over is understandable, but misguided,” the WHO chief says. “A new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.”

WHO’s pandemic report notes that the number of new weekly cases rose by 19% in the Middle East and inched up by 1% in Southeast Asia, while falling everywhere else. The number of deaths increased by 7% in the Western Pacific and dropped elsewhere in the world last week.

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