WHO says rise in COVID cases is the tip of the iceberg

(Reuters) – The head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that a global rise in COVID-19 cases could be the tip of the iceberg as some countries also report a drop in testing rates.

New infections jumped by 8% globally last week, compared to the previous week.

“Surges are to be expected particularly in areas where measures to prevent transmission have been lifted. However, there are unacceptably high levels of mortality in many countries,” WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

A combination of factors was causing the increases, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and the lifting of public health and social measures, said the WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

“We completely understand that the world needs to move on from COVID-19, wants to move on from COVID-19, but this virus spreads very efficiently between people.”

Reporting by Manas Mishra and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra and Barbara Lewis

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