The global cases of COVID-19 have increased by 8% compared to the previous week, totalling more than 3.6 million new cases, while new deaths increased by 21% to over 54 000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
“This brings the cumulative numbers to over 49.7 million reported cases and over 1.2 million deaths globally since the start of the pandemic,” the organisation said.
The European region still accounts for the greatest proportion of new cases and deaths in the past seven days after reporting over half (54%) of all new cases and nearly half (47%) of additional deaths.
“Although it still accounts for only 2% of the global total number of cases and deaths, this week the Western Pacific region showed the largest relative proportional increase in new cases (19%) compared to the previous week, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean region (18%) and the European region (11%).”
Meanwhile, the three regions reporting the highest proportional upsurges in newly reported deaths in the past seven days compared to the previous week are Europe (44%), Africa (30%) and the Eastern Mediterranean (23%).
“The Western Pacific region was the only region to report a decrease in deaths (5%) this week compared to the previous week,” said WHO.
The five countries reporting the highest number of cases in the past week were the United States of America, France, India, Italy and the United Kingdom.
COVID-19 in Africa
Africa reported nearly 34 000 new cases and 831 new deaths in the past week.
Meanwhile, the number of new deaths reported in the last week was 30% higher than it was in the previous week, driven largely by increases seen in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda.
“South Africa continues to report the highest number of new cases and deaths in the region, accounting for nearly a third of new cases and over half of the new deaths,” WHO said, adding that the number of new cases reported by South Africa peaked mid-July, the height of winter, when there were more than 86 000 cases reported weekly.
“By September, South Africa was reporting fewer than 15 000 cases per week, and in the past week, there were nearly 10 500 cases reported (176 new cases per million population).”
Meanwhile, deaths have also fallen from over 1 500 deaths per week at the end of July and beginning of August, to 513 deaths reported in the past week, although it is 55% higher than it was in the previous week.
According to WHO, as of 31 October, five provinces reported over 80% of cases namely, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.
The median age of COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 39 years, and 58% of cases are female.
“The reason for this higher prevalence among females could be due to females being more represented in certain occupations in education and health sectors, where they may be at greater risk of infection, as well as differences in health-seeking behaviour,” said WHO.
Kenya is reporting the second-highest number of weekly new cases in the African region.