New COVID-19 infections decline for a 5th consecutive week: WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the last week saw the lowest record of new COVID-19 weekly cases in four months. Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus says new infections have declined for a fifth consecutive week.

The statistics show that there were more than 5 million cases at the beginning of January, while only 2.6 million were reported in the last week.

“This shows that simple public health measures work even in the presence of variants. What matters now is how we responded to this trend. The fire is not out but we have reduced its size. If we stop fighting it on any front, I will come roaring back,” says Ghebreyesus.

WHO briefs media: 

WHO lists AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use

The WHO has listed two versions of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. This means that the two doses, one manufactured at India’s Serum’s Institute and the second produced by South Korea’s SK-Bio, now have the green light to be rolled out globally through the COVAX facility.

South Africa last week suspended the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine purchased from the Serum Institute after study finds that it has limited efficacy against the variant found in the country.

Ghebreyesus says the two listings join the Pfizer drug on the approved Emergency-Use list.

“Although both companies are producing the same vaccines, because they are made in different production plants, they require separate reviews and approvals. The Who Emergency Use Listing assesses and assures the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and is a prerequisite for vaccines to be distributed by COVAX.”

WHO Briefing on the use of COVID-19 vaccines: