Global coronavirus cases decline: WHO

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Geneva: The World Health Organisation says the number of global coronavirus cases fell in the last week, continuing a downward trend that began in late August.

In its latest weekly assessment of the pandemic published on Wednesday, the UN health agency says there were about 2.8 million new cases and 46,000 confirmed deaths in the last week, a drop of 7 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Europe reported a 7 per cent rise in cases, while all other world regions reported a decrease.

An electron-microscope image of the COVID-19 virus.Credit:CSIRO

WHO says Europe also had the biggest rise in deaths in the previous week, with 11 per cent more COVID-19 deaths. WHO says the highest numbers of new cases in Europe were reported in Britain, Turkey and Russia.

The biggest drops in cases came in Africa and the Western Pacific, where case numbers fell by 32 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. Deaths in both regions fell by more than a third.

In a sign of a shifting posture toward coronavirus, the US said it would reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules, announced on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT), will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the US regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country. By mid-January, essential travellers seeking to enter the US, such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the US and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was “pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner”.

The news of the decline in numbers comes as the WHO on Wednesday named 26 scientists to a new advisory body devoted to understanding the origins of COVID-19 and other future outbreaks.

The US will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Credit:AP

It marks a change in approach for the world’s top global health body to one of the most politically sensitive issues of a pandemic that has killed more than 4.8 million people.

AP

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