W.H.O. Warns Social Surveillance Must Remain Even as Global Coronavirus Cases Plunge

The number of new coronavirus cases fell globally last week including in the Western Pacific region where they had been rising since December, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) reported Wednesday.

That unalloyed good news was tempered by a caution for governments everywhere to enforce strict social surveillance levels to thwart any possible resurgence — now and into the future.

As overall case rates fell, the U.N. agency also reported the number of people killed by the coronavirus surged by more than 40 percent over the same period, likely due to changes in how deaths were reported across the Americas and by newly adjusted figures from India.

AP reports about 10 million new coronavirus infections and more than 45,000 deaths were reported worldwide over the past week, following a 23 percent drop in fatalities the week before.

Overall, a total of 10,805,132 new cases and 45,711 deaths were reported to the global organization on March 21-27.

The decline in case incidence was reported by all the six W.H.O. global regions, particularly Eastern Mediterranean (down 32 percent), Africa (down 29 percent) and Western Pacific (down 24 percent).

In Europe, which accounts for 49 percent of all new cases registered worldwide in the past week, the case count declined by four percent.

The agency warned countries in recent weeks against dropping their comprehensive testing and other surveillance measures, saying any relaxation of social control and monitoring would cripple efforts to accurately track the spread of the virus.

“Data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely and less robust,” W.H.O. said in the weekly briefing. “This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.”

The agency warned less surveillance would particularly harm efforts to detect new COVID variants and undermine a potential response.

Despite the global decline in reported cases, China locked down Shanghai this week to try to curb an omicron outbreak that has caused the country’s biggest wave of disease since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019, as Breitbart News reported.

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