Friday Feb 25 2022

World COVID-19 cases continue retreat, except in Asia

A woman takes a test for Covid-19 at a testing centre in Sydney, Australia, on January 5, 2022. — Jaimi Joy/ Reuters
A woman takes a test for Covid-19 at a testing centre in Sydney, Australia, on January 5, 2022. — Jaimi Joy/ Reuters 

The COVID-19 pandemic continued its strong retreat this week around the world, with the number of cases cut by half since their peak a month ago.

But in Asia the number of cases remained stubbornly high, increasing by a fifth.

Here is a state of play based on AFP's database.

Cases slashed by half

The average number of global daily cases dropped for the fourth week in a row, by 16% to 1.66 million, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.

Over a month the decrease in cases is more spectacular: they have been cut by half since they soared to peaks of 3.37 million in the week of January 21, due to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.

Asia bucks improvement

This week, only Asia saw a deterioration in its situation, with one fifth more cases.

But in all other regions of the world, the pandemic waned.

There were 39% fewer cases in the Middle East, 37% fewer in the United States-Canada zone, down 24% in both Africa and the Latin America-Caribbean zone, a fifth fewer in Europe and 12% less in Oceania.

Main spikes

Hong Kong saw the biggest increase in new cases this week, with the number increasing by 331% compared to the previous week, prompting it to toughen its testing and social distancing requirements.

New Zealand followed with 187% more, South Korea with 85% more, Vietnam plus 71%, while cases were up 36% in Singapore.

Main drops

Kosovo saw the biggest drop of the week with 61% fewer cases, followed by Azerbaijan with minus 55%, Slovenia with minus 52%, and Paraguay and Peru each with 51% fewer.

Germany takes top case spot

Germany overtook Russia to record the highest number of new cases, with an average of 164,600 infections a day, which was still a drop of nine per cent.

Russia had 155,400 new cases, a drop of 17%, while South Korea took third place with 121,900, an increase of 85%.

The United States for the first time in many months was not in the top three.

On a per-capita basis, the country with the newest cases over the week was again Denmark with 3,612 per 100,000 inhabitants. It was followed by Latvia with 3,558 and Estonia 2,789.


The number of COVID-linked deaths continued its decline, dropping by 10% globally, to 9,348 per day.

The US again mourned the most deaths over the week, with an average of 1,905 per day, followed by Brazil (784) and Russia (772).

The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were Bulgaria with 7.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Georgia with 7.3 and Hungary with 7.2.