The Latest: WHO says coronavirus deaths up 21% in last week
GENEVA — The World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21% in the last week.
Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia. The U.N. health agency also noted that COVID-19 cases rose by 8% worldwide and that there are now nearly 194 million infections.
WHO said that “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks.” It added that the number of COVID-19 deaths increased in all regions except for Europe. The biggest numbers of cases were reported in the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, the U.K. and India.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— White House strongly considering requiring vaccinations for federal employees
— CDC changes course on indoor masks in some parts of the US
— Tokyo governor urges younger people to get vaccinated to slow area’s virus surge
— Man charged with sending emails threatening to kill Fauci, NIH director and their families
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BERLIN — Germany says that half of its population has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a milestone in a campaign that has slowed markedly in recent weeks.
Official figures released Wednesday showed that the number reached nearly 41.8 million, or 50.2%, of the population on Tuesday. And more than 50.8 million, or 61.1% of the population, had received at least one vaccine dose.
But the numbers are moving higher at a much more leisurely pace than they were several weeks ago. Nearly 436,000 shots have been administered per day on average over the past week. That figure was over 800,000 in mid-June.
That is worrying officials at a time when infections are creeping up from a very low level as the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has become dominant.
Chancellor Angela Merkel last week appealed to reluctant citizens to get vaccinated.
SYDNEY — Australia’s largest city Sydney will remain in lockdown for another month.
The New South Wales state government said the lockdown of the city of 5 million would last at least until Aug. 28 after reporting on Wednesday 177 new infections in the latest 24-hour period. It was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that “I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,”
More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on June 16 for the contagious delta variant. The driver had been infected by a U.S. aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.
The death toll from the cluster reached 11 on Wednesday with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is reporting a new daily high for coronavirus cases a day after authorities enforced stringent restrictions in areas outside the Seoul capital region seeking to slow a nationwide spread of infections.
The 1,896 cases announced Wednesday took the country’s total for the pandemic to 193,427, with 2,083 deaths from COVID-19.
It was the highest daily jump since the pandemic began and surpassed a previous record of 1,842 announced last Thursday.
The Seoul area has been at the center of the outbreak. The government on Tuesday put much of the non-Seoul regions under the second highest distancing guidelines to guard against a nationwide viral spread.
BEIJING — Drivers seeking to leave eastern China’s Jiangsu province will have to show a negative coronavirus test taken in the last 48 hours or be forced to turn around as infections in the province continue to rise.
The provincial transport department said Wednesday that 93 checkpoints have been set up on highways in the province whose capital of Nanjing is the epicenter of China’s latest outbreak. Drivers must remain in their vehicles and wear masks while health workers carry out the checks.
The National Health Commission reported 48 new cases in Jiangsu over the previous 24 hours. That brings its total to 154 over recent days. Authorities say the illnesses are being caused by the highly contagious delta variant.
The coronavirus continues to spread despite China having administered more than 1.5 billion doses of vaccine.