Global epidemiological situation
For the third week in a row over 4 million new cases were reported globally, although this week saw a slight decrease compared to the previous week. However, this and other short-term trends in data should be interpreted with caution owing to the end-of-year holiday season, as numbers may be influenced by presentation, testing and reporting delays. The decrease seen last week in new deaths has been reversed with deaths rising by 3% to 76 000 (Figure 1, Table 1). The Region of the Americas accounted for 47% of all new cases and 42% of all new deaths globally in the past week. New cases and deaths remained high in the European Region, which accounted for 38% and 43% respectively, showing a slight decrease in new cases and a slight increase in new deaths. New cases and deaths continue to decline in the South-East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean regions. In the African Region, while both new cases and deaths remain low in absolute numbers, for the fourth week in a row, the Region is reporting the largest percentage increase globally in weekly reported case numbers and this week there was a further 13% increase in new cases and 28% increase in new deaths. In the Western Pacific Region, new cases remained comparable to the previous week, but new deaths rose by 10%. As we welcome the New Year, and look eagerly towards COVID-19 vaccination campaigns worldwide, the current epidemiological situation with near record numbers of new cases and deaths, makes it imperative to continue to adhere to safety measures to prevent further transmission and loss of life.