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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - GENEVA — India accounted for 46% of the new COVID-19 cases recorded worldwide last week and one in four of deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Worldwide, 5.7 million new cases were reported last week and more than 93,000 deaths, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological report. India reported nearly 2.6 million new cases, a 20% increase on the previous week, and 23,231 deaths.
The figures are based on official tallies, so India's proportion could be even larger if, as many experts believe, a large number of cases and deaths are not being recorded there as the system becomes overwhelmed.
India accounts for almost 18% of the world's population. There are signs that India's outbreak is spreading to its neighbors. Nepal recorded a 137% increase in cases to 31,088 last week, while Sri Lanka's COVID-19 outbreak was also growing, the WHO said.
On Tuesday India became the second country to record 20 million infections, after the United States. India's coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours, with daily infections rising by 382,315 on Wednesday, Health Ministry data showed.
The United Nations has deployed all the personnel and resources at its disposal to help Indians deal with the deadly surge in COVID-19 that has seen more than 300,000 reported new cases per day, for almost two weeks now, and left many hospitals overwhelmed.
That’s according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) India Representative, Dr. Roderico Ofrin, speaking exclusively to UN News, who told Anshu Sharma that tried and trust methods of bringing down the numbers would surely work, if India can get “ahead of the game”.
With vaccination now open to all over 18, and 165 million already inoculated, he said that shots were only part of the solution, to bringing the multiple factors that have fueled the surge, under control.
India has been facing an alarming surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths that experts fear will not abate anytime soon.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health in the US, said he is concerned that Indian policymakers he has been in contact with believe things will improve in the next few days.
“I’ve been ... trying to say to them, 'If everything goes very well, things will be horrible for the next several weeks. And it may be much longer,'” he said.
Jha said policymakers need to focus on classic public health interventions including targeted lockdowns, testing, mask-wearing and avoiding gatherings: "That is what’s going to break the back of this surge".
India has the world's largest vaccine producer, but is short on jabs, the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages. The country is vaccinating about 2.1 million people daily, or just around 0.15% of its population. — Agencies
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