PARIS, France — The pandemic continued to accelerate this week, especially in Europe and Asia, as a highly contagious new strain of the virus was identified in South Africa.
Here is the global state of play based on an AFP database.
– Half a million cases a day –
The number of new daily coronavirus cases rose by nine percent globally for the second week in a row to 564,394, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.
It was the sixth successive week of increasing infections.
– Africa strain –
In Africa, the appearance of a new variant has stoked global concern, although the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned several weeks may be needed to know whether this means the virus is becoming more virulent or more transmissible.
The continent saw new cases double this week, although the figure was affected by a big upward revision of data in South Africa.
Elsewhere in the world the number of cases increased by 15 percent in Europe, 14 percent in Asia, nine percent in Oceania and by two percent in the Latin America and Caribbean zone.
Only in the United States and Canada (minus 12 percent), and the Middle East (minus four percent) did the number of cases decline.
However, the confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.
– European epicentre –
Apart from South Africa, where the number of cases rose by 892 percent following an upward revision of figures, Vietnam was the country where the pandemic picked up most speed with infections increasing by 108 percent.
Otherwise, Europe was at the epicentre with cases increasing by 75 percent in France, 51 percent in Spain, 49 percent in Sweden, 46 percent in Switzerland and 45 percent in Belgium.
– Biggest drops –
Romania saw the biggest drop of 32 percent in new cases, followed by Singapore and Latvia (minus 29 percent each), the Philippines (minus 25 percent) and the Dominican Republic (minus 24 percent).
– US still has most cases –
The US remained by far the country with the biggest number of new cases, with 85,762 per day.
It was followed by Germany with 54,062 (up 26 percent) and the United Kingdon with 42,797, up a tenth.
On a per-capita basis the country with the most new cases this week was Montenegro with 3,548 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Georgia with 2,960 and Slovenia 2,862.
– Most deaths in Russia –
Russia mourned the most deaths, with an average of 1,246 a day, ahead of the US (1,026) and Ukraine (576).
At a global level there was a downturn in the number of daily deaths, which dropped by three percent to 7,179.
– Fastest vaccinators –
Vietnam topped the global table for the fastest vaccination roll-out this week, jabbing 1.60 percent of its population every day.
It was followed — among countries with more than a million inhabitants — by Norway (1.23 percent), Austria (1.20 percent), Taiwan (0.92 percent) and Hungary (0.78 percent).
The United Arab Emirates remains the most vaccinated country on Earth, with 89 percent of its population fully covered, with Portugal (87 percent) and Singapore (86 percent) hot on its heels.