The cumulative global caseload now stands at more than 211 million, with the total death toll surpassing 4.4 million, according to WHO’s weekly epidemiological update.
The number of new global cases now appears to be stable, after increasing since mid-June, WHO noted in the report.
The United States reported the highest number of new cases last week — at 1.02 million, a 15% increase from the previous week — followed by Iran, India, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
The Western Pacific and the Americas saw the largest increase in cases last week — at 20% and 8% respectively. Southeast Asia and Eastern Mediterranean reported a decline in infections, while the other regions saw stagnant cases, according to WHO.
Infections are also climbing in New Zealand, despite the country imposing a nationwide lockdown after confirming just one locally transmitted coronavirus case last week. On Wednesday, it reported 62 new cases, bringing the total caseload of the ongoing outbreak to 210.
In recent days, officials in both Australia and New Zealand have suggested a shift of approach in dealing with Covid-19, from attempting to eradicate the virus to eventually learning to live with it.
On Monday, New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins told public broadcaster TVNZ the Delta variant has raised questions about the long-term viability of the country’s coronavirus elimination strategy.
“It does mean that all of our existing protections start to look less adequate and less robust. As a result of that, we are looking very closely at what more we can do there. But it does raise some very big questions about the long-term future of our plans,” he said.
It cited a modeling study in England that shows a delay in lifting these safety measures reduced the peak in daily hospitalizations by nearly three-fold.
“Relaxation of public health and social measures should therefore be carefully and cautiously balanced against levels of vaccination coverage, and the circulation of Variants of Concern,” WHO wrote.