WHO: New Covid-19 cases increase for the first time in seven weeks

PETALING JAYA: The number of new Covid-19 cases has seen a global increase for the first time in seven weeks, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that reported cases increased in four out of six regions – Americas, Europe, South-East Asia and the eastern Mediterranean.

“This is disappointing, but not surprising. We’re working to better understand these increases in transmission.

“Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting their guard down,” he said in a news briefing from Geneva, Switzerland on Monday (March 1).

He said that while vaccines will help save lives, if countries relied solely on them, they are making a mistake.

“Basic public health measures remain the foundation of the response. For public health authorities, this means testing, contact tracing, isolation, supported quarantine and quality care.

“For individuals, it means avoiding crowds, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masks and ventilation. This is a global crisis that requires a consistent and co-ordinated global response,” he said.

A total of 113,820,168 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 2,527,891 deaths, have been reported to WHO as of March 1.

WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said that public health measures have to remain in place while the vaccines are being rolled out.

“If the last week tells us anything, is that this virus will rebound. We need to have a stern warning for all of us that this virus will rebound if we let it. And we cannot let it,” she said.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had shared WHO’s latest Covid-19 situation report on his Facebook page.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said.

Malaysia has reported 302,580 cases since the beginning of the pandemic last year, with the death toll at 1,135 cases.
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