WHO: 19% drop in global Covid cases; deaths stable

Published on Feb 17, 2022 03:43 AM IST

WHO said that all other variants, including Alpha, Beta and Delta, continue to decline globally as Omicron crowds them out.

China’s President Xi Jinping has told Hong Kong’s leaders that their “overriding mission” was to stabilise the worsening Covid-19 situation in the city. In picture - People sleep in hospital beds with temperatures falling at nighttime outside the Caritas Medical Centre in Hong Kong.(AFP)
China’s President Xi Jinping has told Hong Kong’s leaders that their “overriding mission” was to stabilise the worsening Covid-19 situation in the city. In picture - People sleep in hospital beds with temperatures falling at nighttime outside the Caritas Medical Centre in Hong Kong.(AFP)
Agencies | , Geneva/beijing

The number of new coronavirus cases globally fell by 19% in the last week while the number of deaths remained stable, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN health agency said late on Tuesday in its weekly report on the pandemic that just over 16 million new Covid-19 infections and about 75,000 deaths were reported worldwide last week.

WHO said that all other variants, including Alpha, Beta and Delta, continue to decline globally as Omicron crowds them out. Among the more than 400,000 Covid-19 virus sequences uploaded to the world’s biggest virus database in the last week, more than 98% were Omicron.

Xi orders Hong Kong to control Covid surge

China’s President Xi Jinping has told Hong Kong’s leaders that their “overriding mission” was to stabilise the worsening Covid-19 situation in the city as local authorities struggle to bring the worst outbreak of the disease under control. Xi’s instructions were issued in the backdrop of reports from Hong Kong that talked about the health system of the financial hub being overwhelmed by Covid-19 with infected patients being forced to lie on beds outside hospitals.

Xi said Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam’s government should make stabilising the Covid-19 situation its top priority, the state-run Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao newspapers reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, South Korea will distribute free rapid test kits at schools and senior care facilities starting next week as it weathers an unprecedented wave of infections driven by the fast-moving Omicron variant.

Health officials on Wednesday reported its highest daily jump in infections with 90,443 new cases, shattering the previous one-day record set on Tuesday by more than 33,000 cases. Some experts say the country could see daily cases of around 200,000 in March.

Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday carried out her first in-person official engagements since fears emerged that she could have contracted coronavirus last week.

Buckingham Palace has not revealed whether the queen - who this month marked 70 years on the throne - has taken any Covid tests herself.

(With inputs from Sutirtho Patranobis)

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