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COVID surges globally, 2nd Omicron wave in Europe

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INDIA: Reversing a declining trend that had lasted over five weeks since late January, fresh cases of Covid-19 are surging again across the globe. Driving the rise this time is a sharp spike in infections in east and southeast Asia as well as western Europe, where the Omicron wave appears to have returned after peaking in January-February.

Although India’s numbers continue to dip to levels last seen nearly two years ago, the seven-day average of global cases has been rising for two weeks. In the past seven days, infections surged 5% compared with the preceding week, as per

On Thursday, South Korea reported a record 6.2 lakh new cases in a country of 50 million, the highest single-day tally logged in any nation except the US. South Korea has recorded 24 lakh cases in the last seven days, ahead of Germany (15 lakh), Vietnam (12 lakh), France (5.2 lakh) and the UK (4.8 lakh).

Experts fear that the wave could next travel to the US, one of the few countries where Omicron infections have led to a sharp rise in deaths. The US reported a peak of over 3,500 deaths in a day during the Omicron surge in January this year, the highest daily toll from the pandemic since vaccinations picked up in the country in January 2021.

In Hong Kong, another place where Omicron deaths have been high, agencies reported that morgues had run out of space with bodies of coronavirus victims being carted into refrigerated shipping containers and the city’s remaining 300 coffins expected to be gone by the weekend.

World Health Organisation DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the rise in global cases was “just the tip of the iceberg” particularly since testing had reduced in many parts of the world.

Apart from Germany, France and the UK, other countries in western Europe in the midst of a second Omicron wave include the Netherlands, where cases were now beginning to dip, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Australia, which has followed strict Covid restrictions, saw a 26% surge in cases in the past seven days.

There were 11.5 million (1.1 crore) new cases recorded globally in the past seven days, up from 10.9 million in the preceding seven days. That number stood at over 24 million at the peak of the Omicron wave on January 24.

Currently, deaths from the virus continue to decline but the toll will likely rise as cases pile up. – TIMES OF INDIA

Saturday, March 19, 2022 – 01:00

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