Global COVID-19 Infections Surge by 8 Percent; 'Pandemic Not Over Yet,' Says WHO
The WHO said that the global surge could be attributed to the BA.2 variant of COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday, 19 March, that there had been an 8 percent increase in COVID-19 infections (11 million cases) across the world, India Today reported.
It added that there were concerns, especially in countries like China, Hong Kong, and South Korea, where there was a marked surge in infections, despite a decline in testing rates.
'Misinformation Leading to Surge'
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead, said that constant misinformation regarding COVID-19 had led to a surge in cases across the world, particularly the belief among people that the pandemic was over.
"We have huge amounts of misinformation that's out there. The misinformation that Omicron is mild. Misinformation that the pandemic is over. Misinformation that this is the last variant that we will have to deal with. This is really causing a lot of confusion," she said at a press conference.
The WHO also stated that the Omicron variant was still extremely infectious. It added that a reduction in the wearing of masks, lifting of COVID-19 protocols, and refusal to follow social distancing norms had led to the rise in infections.
BA.2 Most Transmissible Variant
The WHO said that the global surge could be attributed to the BA.2 COVID-19 variant, which is more infectious than the BA.1 variant.
"Omicron is transmitting at a very intense level... We have sub-lineages of BA.1 and BA.2. BA.2 is more transmissible and this is the most transmissible variant we have seen of the SARS-COV2 virus to date," Kerkhove said, as per a report by India Today.
After over a year of not reporting any COVID-19 deaths, China, on Saturday, recorded two deaths due to the virus and 1,737 new infections. South Korea, on the other hand, reported 381,454 cases on the same day.
(With inputs from India Today.)
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