Sunday, January 23, 2022

Pandemic picks up pace as cases double in Africa

Apart from South Africa, where the number of cases rose by 892% following an upward revision of figures, Vietnam was the country where the pandemic picked up most speed.

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The pandemic continued to accelerate this week, especially in Europe and Asia, as a highly contagious new strain of the virus was identified in South Africa.

Here is the global state of play based on an AFP database.

Half a million cases a day

The number of new daily coronavirus cases rose by 9% globally for the second week in a row to 564,394, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.

It was the sixth successive week of increasing infections.

Africa strain

In Africa, the appearance of a new variant has stoked global concern, although the UN’s World Health Organization cautioned several weeks may be needed to know whether this means the virus is becoming more virulent or more transmissible.

The continent saw new cases double this week, although the figure was affected by a big upward revision of data in South Africa.

Elsewhere in the world the number of cases increased by 15% in Europe, 14% in Asia, 9% in Oceania and by 2% in the Latin America and Caribbean zone.

Only in the US and Canada (minus 12%), and the Middle East (minus 4%) did the number of cases decline.

However, the confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.

European epicentre

Apart from South Africa, where the number of cases rose by 892% following an upward revision of figures, Vietnam was the country where the pandemic picked up most speed with infections increasing by 108%.

Otherwise, Europe was at the epicentre with cases increasing by 75% in France, 51% in Spain, 49% in Sweden, 46% in Switzerland and 45% in Belgium.

Biggest drops

Romania saw the biggest drop of 32% in new cases, followed by Singapore and Latvia (minus 29% each), the Philippines (minus 25%) and the Dominican Republic (minus 24%).

US still has most cases

The US remained by far the country with the biggest number of new cases, with 85,762 per day.

It was followed by Germany with 54,062 (up 26%) and the UK with 42,797, up a tenth.

On a per-capita basis the country with the most new cases this week was Montenegro with 3,548 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Georgia with 2,960 and Slovenia 2,862.

Most deaths in Russia

Russia mourned the most deaths, with an average of 1,246 a day, ahead of the US (1,026) and Ukraine (576).

At a global level there was a downturn in the number of daily deaths, which dropped by 3% to 7,179.

Fastest vaccinators

Vietnam topped the global table for the fastest vaccination roll-out this week, jabbing 1.60% of its population every day.

It was followed – among countries with more than a million inhabitants – by Norway (1.23%), Austria (1.20%), Taiwan (0.92%) and Hungary (0.78%).

The United Arab Emirates remains the most vaccinated country on Earth, with 89% of its population fully covered, with Portugal (87%) and Singapore (86%) hot on its heels.

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