'Global Covid cases continue to rise for 4th week'

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases have continued to increase globally for a fourth consecutive week.

In the week ending March 21, nearly 3.3 million new cases were reported globally, Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO as saying in its latest update issued on Wednesday.

Four regions saw a “marked” increase in new cases, namely South-East Asia, Western Pacific, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean regions, up by 49 per cent, 29 per cent, 13 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

Europe and the Americas still accounted for close to 80 per cent of all cases and deaths, it said.

The increase reported by the WHO followed a trend that saw, in early March, the end of a decrease in the number of infections worldwide, a shift that was deemed by the world body “disappointing but not surprising”.

Furthermore, while the number of new Covid-19 deaths was falling in the last few weeks, it plateaued last week, indicating a possible rise in fatalities globally, the WHO said.

Only the Western Pacific region saw a decrease in new reported deaths during the week, according to the report.

In its latest update on Thursday morning, the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 124,688,146 and 2,742,974, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 30,009,386 and 545,237, respectively, according to the CSSE. Brazil follows in the second place with 12,220,011 cases and 300,685 fatalities.