WHO: 3.4M global virus cases last week, up 12%

Coronavirus

FILE — In this June 3, 2021 file photo an elderly patient receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at a clinic at Orange Farm, near Johannesburg. Pfizer has announced that a South African firm will begin producing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine, the first time that the vaccine will be produced in Africa. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

GENEVA — The World Health Organization says there were more than 3.4 million new global cases of the coronavirus last week, a 12% increase from the previous week.

The U.N. health agency says the number of deaths is continuing to decline, with about 57,000 in the last week.

“At this rate, it is expected that the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next three weeks,” WHO says. It notes the highest increases in COVID-19 cases were in the Western Pacific and European regions. In the past week, WHO says the highest coronavirus infections were in Indonesia, Britain, Brazil, India and the U.S.

It says the increased transmission of the virus is driven by new variants, the relaxation of COVID-19 protocols and the large number of people still susceptible to the coronavirus, despite rising vaccination rates in some countries.

WHO has urged countries to commit to vaccinating at least 40% of every country’s population by the end of the year. Of the more than 3 billion vaccine doses administered globally, only about 1% have gone to people in poorer nations.

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