The global number of new Covid-19 cases has increased by 52 per cent during the last one month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.

In the latest epidemiological update on Friday, the UN health body reported over 850,000 new cases worldwide in the 28-day period from November 20 to December 17.

The number of new deaths decreased by 8 per cent as compared to the previous 28-day period, with over 3,000 new fatalities reported. As of December 17, over 772 million confirmed cases and nearly seven million deaths have been reported globally.

During the period from November 13 to December 10, over 118,000 new Covid hospitalisations and over 1,600 new intensive care unit (ICU) admissions have been recorded with an overall increase of 23 per cent and 51 per cent respectively amongst the countries reporting consistently within the current and past reporting periods.

The WHO last week designated JN.1, a sub-lineage of BA.2.86 Omicron variant, as a separate variant of interest (VOI) apart from its parent lineage BA.2.86 due to its rapid increase in prevalence in recent weeks.

However, EG.5 remains to be the most reported VOI globally.

At the global level, during the past 28 days, a total of 118,958 new hospitalisations and 1,610 new intensive care unit (ICU) admissions were reported from 58 and 36 countries, respectively.

The South-East Asia Region reported over 9,200 new cases, a 388 per cent increase as compared to the previous 28-day period.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Indonesia (3,725), followed by India (3,241) and Thailand (2,120).

The number of new 28-day deaths in the Region increased by 317 per cent as compared to the previous 28-day period, with 50 new deaths reported.

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from India (21 new deaths), Thailand (16 new deaths) and Indonesia (12 new deaths).

The WHO emphasised that current vaccines continue to provide protection against severe disease and death from the JN.1 variant and other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2. The organisation is closely monitoring the evidence and will update the risk evaluation of JN.1 as needed.

To mitigate the spread of these respiratory illnesses, the WHO advised individuals to adopt preventive measures, including wearing masks in crowded or poorly ventilated areas, maintaining a safe distance, practising respiratory etiquette, regular hand hygiene, and getting tested for Covid or influenza if symptoms arise or after exposure.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)