Photo used for illustrative purpose.
In its latest weekly report on the pandemic, the UN health agency said the number of new coronavirus cases fell everywhere, including in WHO's Western Pacific region, where they had been rising since December.
About 10 million new COVID-19 infections and more than 45,000 deaths were reported worldwide over the past week, following a 23% drop in fatalities the week before.
WHO has said repeatedly that COVID-19 case counts are likely a vast underestimate of the coronavirus’ prevalence. The agency cautioned countries in recent weeks against dropping their comprehensive testing and other surveillance measures, saying that doing so would cripple efforts to accurately track the spread of the virus.
"Data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely and less robust,” WHO said. "This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.”
The agency warned that less surveillance would particularly harm efforts to detect new COVID variants and undermine a potential response.
Numerous countries across Europe, North America and elsewhere recently lifted nearly all their COVID-19 protocols, relying on high levels of vaccination to prevent another infection spike even as the more infectious omicron subvariant BA.2 is causing an uptick in new cases.
British authorities have said that while they expect to see more cases, they have not seen an equivalent rise in hospitalizations and deaths.
Despite the global decline in reported cases, China locked down Shanghai this week to try to curb an omicron outbreak that has caused the country's biggest wave of disease since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019.
U.S. officials expanded the use of vaccine boosters Tuesday as regulators said Americans ages 50 and older can get a second booster at least four months after their last vaccination.
An AP-NORC poll, meanwhile found that less than half of Americans now regularly wear face masks, avoid crowds and skip non-essential travel.
Health officials worldwide have expressed concerns in recent days that some countries grappling with the devastating economic impact of lockdowns may lift restrictions too swiftly, and that the coronavirus could spread during mass anti-racism protests.
Senior health official Vinod Kumar Paul told a news briefing that government experts were studying data on boosters but "our emphatic view...is to (first) cover every adult with (just) the primary two doses." The government has said this target can be achieved by January.
Italy and Spain bore the brunt of the crisis, accounting for three in every four deaths on the continent, as the grim tally hit another milestone even though half of the planet's population is already under some form of lockdown in a battle to halt contagion.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that the variant was successfully evading some immune responses, meaning that the booster programmes being rolled out in many countries ought to be targeted towards people with weaker immune systems.
Omicron appears to be better at evading antibodies generated by some COVID-19 vaccines but there are other forms of immunity that may prevent infection and disease, WHO officials said.
A video shared on social media showed flood water gushing from an apartment building in Ankara along with furniture.
According to sources, many labourers were working on the bridge when one of its portions collapsed, and several of them are feared dead. However, the district administration of Bhagalpur, or Bihar government, has not provided any figures on casualties yet.
An average of 30 people a day were killed by firearms in S.Africa in the first three months of this year, according to official crime statistics. During the same three months, police recorded more than 4,000 cases of illegal possession of guns.
Sheikh Sultan praised the efforts of the multi-sectoral Unesco Regional Office and their continuous initiatives to support children in the Arab world, stressing that Sharjah always seeks to enhance cooperation in this field.