The World Health Organisation recorded nearly 13 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections and almost 53,000 deaths globally from December 19, 2022, to January 15, 2023.

The WHO made this known in its weekly COVID-19 epidemiological update made available to our correspondent on Thursday.

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The report showed that there was a 20 per cent increase in the cases recorded compared to the previous 28 days.

It said, “Globally, nearly 2.8 million new cases and over 13,000 deaths were reported in the week of January 9 to 15 2023. In the last 28 days (December 19, 2022, to January 15, 2023), nearly 13 million cases and almost 53,000 new deaths were reported globally – a decrease of seven per cent and an increase of 20 per cent, respectively, compared to the previous 28 days.

“As of January 15, 2023, over 662 million confirmed cases and over 6.7 million deaths have been reported globally.”

The UN health agency indicated that the update includes cases and deaths reported by China through the International Health Regulations as of January 15, 2023, but it does not include the 59,938 COVID-19-related deaths announced by China for the period of December 8, 2022, to January 8, 2023.

The WHO added that the current trends in reported COVID-19 cases are underestimates of the true number of global infections and reinfections as shown by prevalence surveys.

“Therefore, the data should be interpreted with caution as several countries have progressively changed COVID-19 testing strategies, resulting in lower numbers of tests performed and consequently lower numbers of cases detected.

“Additionally, data from previous weeks are continuously updated to retrospectively incorporate changes in reported COVID-19 cases and deaths made by countries,” it said.

Globally, from December 16, 2022, to January 16, 2023, no fewer than 85,489 SARS-CoV-2 sequences were shared through the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data. Among these, 85,461 sequences were the Omicron variant of concern, accounting for 99.9 per cent of sequences reported in the past 30 days.

GISAID is a global science initiative that provides open access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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