A worker in a protective suit helping to protect himself from COVID-19 stands near an ambulance parked on a street in Beijing on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Author: AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

The World Health Organization has reported that the number of new cases and deaths from coronavirus continues to decline in the world after a peak in January.

In its latest weekly pandemic estimate, the UN health agency said there had been more than 3.7 million new infections and 9,000 deaths in the past week, down 3% and 11% respectively. COVID-19 cases have increased in only two regions of the world: the Americas and the Western Pacific. Mortality increased by 30% in the Middle East, but was stable or decreased elsewhere.

The WHO said it was tracking all omicron subvariants as “options of concern”. It was noted that countries that had a significant wave of disease caused by the omicron BA.2 subvariant were found to be less affected by other subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.5, which were responsible for the recent outbreak in South Africa.

Salim Abdul Karim, an infectious disease specialist at KwaZulu-Natal University, said South Africa had undergone the latest wave of COVID-19 caused by sub-options BA.4 and BA.5; the country has been at the forefront of the pandemic since its first detection omicron option last November.

Karim predicted that another mutated version of the omicron could appear in June, explaining that a large number of mutations in option meant that there were more opportunities for development for him.

WHO: COVID-19 cases are mostly declining, with the exception of America

Residents play cards in an apartment building near the barricade to prevent people from gathering in the green zone due to restrictions on COVID-19 in Beijing, Thursday, May 26, 2022. Credit: AP Photo / Andy Wong

In Beijing, meanwhile, authorities in the Chinese capital have ordered more workers and students to stay at home and conducted additional mass testing on Monday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Many residential complexes in the city have restricted traffic and exit, although closure conditions remain much less stringent than in Shanghai, where millions of citizens are in varying degrees of closure for two months.

China promises to adhere to the “zero COVID-19” policy, despite the fact that the WHO describes this policy as “unsustainable”, given the infectious nature amicron and its sub-variants.

The latest COVID surge in South Africa is to blame for the omicron mutants

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