The recent global rise in Covid-19 cases has worried experts and public health officials. "New worldwide infections have jumped by 8 per cent globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases," a local daily has reported.
As per the WHO, a combination of factors, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its BA. 2 sublineage, and the lifting of public health and social measures in several countries, have contributed to the current spike, it added.
Low vaccination rates in some countries, driven partly by a "huge amount of misinformation" also explained the rise in new cases, WHO officials noted.
Some of the biggest jumps in Covid-19 cases have been reported in South Korea and China, where cases rose by 25 per cent and deaths by 27 per cent during recent weeks, Gulf News remarked in its today's editorial.
During this time Africa saw a 12 per cent rise in new cases and 14 per cent rise in deaths, and Europe a 2 per cent rise in cases but no big jump in deaths. While cases are on the rise in some geographies, there are no signs that it causes more severe disease.
In China where the spike is marked, the big jump in cases in Shanghai has resulted in mass Covid testing even as 26 million people face lockdown.
Beijing has tightened curbs elsewhere in the country, consistent with the country’s zero-tolerance policy to prevent its medical system from breaking down.
"At present the world is witnessing 1.5 million new cases each day. Large outbreaks are spreading in Asia. A new wave is sweeping across Europe.
"Presently BA. 2 is the dominant strain circulating around the US, accounting for almost three out of every four cases. Broadly the cases have dipped 5 per cent across the US to an average of about 28,700 cases from an average of more than 30,000 cases a fortnight ago," read the editorial.
While experts note that a significant rise in hospitalisations or deaths is not expected, there have been signs of hospitalisations rising among the elderly in other countries like the UK.
"The current situation calls for a balanced approach. While the world cannot afford to remain captive to Covid forever, we need to keep our guard up.
"National governments around the world must speed up the administration of the booster dose of the vaccine by opening it up for all.
"Countries where Covid relaxations are in place, health care infrastructure should remain in top gear. Testing must continue as also common sense measures like masking and sanitising," the Dubai-based English language newspaper concluded.