The World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus cases ticked up worldwide last week even as the weekly count of COVID-19 deaths dropped to the lowest level since October.
The UN health agency, in its latest weekly epidemiological report on the pandemic, also said on Wednesday that its 53-country European region reported a “sharp increase” — 30 per cent — in infection incidence, while Africa registered a 23 per cent rise in mortality from COVID-19 during the period.
All WHO regions except the Americas — one of the hardest-hit regions — and Southeast Asia posted an increase in deaths over the last week, the agency said in a statement.
More than 2.6 million new COVID-19 cases were reported between June 28 and July 4, a slight increase on the previous week, while the tally of deaths registered over the week declined seven per cent to 54,000, WHO said. That was the lowest such weekly figure since October.
WHO said most new cases were reported in Brazil and India — though weekly case counts in those two countries were declining — as well as Colombia, followed by Indonesia and Britain, which each tallied a weekly increase in cases.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of early Wednesday morning, Canada had reported 1,418,091 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,479 considered active. National deaths stand at 26,381. More than 40.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.
In Atlantic Canada, there were eight new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with seven in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island. There were no new cases reported in Newfoundland and Labrador or New Brunswick.
In Quebec, where health officials are pushing to get more young adults vaccinated, health officials on Tuesday reported no additional deaths and 67 new cases of COVID-19.
Ontario reported 164 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths from the virus on Tuesday, as well as 80 previously uncounted cases from 2020.
The province’s top doctor was also calling for all eligible young people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of school’s return in September. Dr. Kieran Moore said Tuesday that classes in Ontario schools are due to pick up in less than two months with the goal of holding more in-person classes.
In Manitoba, meanwhile, health officials on Tuesday reported one additional death and 36 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest single-day case number the province has seen since March.
Saskatchewan reported one death Tuesday and 14 additional cases of COVID-19.
In Alberta, health officials reported two additional deaths and 33 new cases of COVID-19.
Across the North, there were 10 new cases reported Tuesday in Yukon, where health officials said a “surge” in new infections is concentrated in Whitehorse. There were no new cases reported in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories.
In British Columbia, there were no new deaths reported on Tuesday. Health officials said there were 46 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Wednesday morning, more than 184.6 million COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.
In the Americas, President Joe Biden said the rise of a more transmissible COVID-19 variant in the U.S. “should cause everybody to think twice.” Speaking Tuesday at the White House as he outlined his administration’s summer plans to boost vaccinations, Biden said the delta variant first identified in India is now responsible for a majority of new virus cases in much of the country.
“It seems to me it should cause everybody to think twice, and it should cause reconsideration especially among young people,” he said, referencing the demographic least at risk of negative outcomes from the virus.
The people who helped get New York City through the coronavirus pandemic will be honoured with a parade. City officials say the event Wednesday will honour a range of people, including workers in health care, transportation, education and infrastructure. The parade is kicking off at Battery Park and will travel up Broadway in lower Manhattan, the iconic stretch known as the Canyon of Heroes.
Mexican health authorities, meanwhile, reported on Tuesday the biggest jump in new daily coronavirus infections since late February.
In Africa, Zimbabwe has returned to strict lockdown measures to combat a resurgence of COVID-19 amid vaccine shortages. Infections have dramatically increased in recent weeks despite a night curfew, reduced business hours, localized lockdowns in hot spot areas and bans on inter-city travel.
The country’s information minister announced the virus has spread to rural areas, which have sparse health facilities. Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced after a cabinet meeting that most people must stay at home, similar to restrictions on movement adopted in March last year when towns and cities became almost deserted.
Zimbabwe is one of more than 14 African countries where the delta variant is quickly spreading.
In the Asia-Pacific region, 12 Indian government ministers resigned Wednesday, hours ahead of an expected reshuffle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet aimed at refurbishing its image after widespread criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India has recorded 400,000 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began — the third most of any country. New cases are on the decline after exceeding 400,000 a day in May, but authorities are preparing for another possible wave and are trying to ramp up vaccinations.
A two-week-old pandemic lockdown in Australia’s biggest city is being extended for another week due to the vulnerability of a population largely unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Wednesday that health experts recommended pushing the lockdown in Sydney on to midnight July 16. Only nine per cent of Australian adults are fully vaccinated, heightening fears that the delta variant of the coronavirus could quickly spread beyond control.
Authorities in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan reported 15 new confirmed locally transmitted coronavirus cases for July 6, with all cases in the city of Ruili, bordering Myanmar.
South Korea reported its second-highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases ever on Wednesday, just days after it began easing physical distancing restrictions in some parts of the country.
In the Middle East, health officials in Kuwait on Tuesday reported 1,993 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths — including 19 deaths in people who were unvaccinated, local media reported.
In Europe, fully vaccinated travellers arriving from countries on Britain’s “amber list” are set to avoid quarantine from as early as July 19, British media reported.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 9 a.m. ET