The Covid-19 pandemic continued its retreat around the world this week, but infections were still raging in hotspots in Asia and Oceania, led by Hong Kong and New Zealand.
12 percent fall
The average number of global daily cases dropped for the fifth week in a row, shrinking by 12 percent to 1.47 million, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.
Daily infections have fallen by half since peaking at 3.37 million in late January with 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, Oceania buck improvement
This week, Asia and Oceania bucked a global improvement, seeing the number of cases spike by 25 percent and 72 percent respectively compared to the previous week.
The situation markedly improved in all other regions of the world, with 45 percent less cases in the Middle East, 40 percent less in the Latin America-Caribbean zone, 34 percent less in Africa, 23 percent less in the United States-Canada zone and 22 percent less in Europe.
New Zealand recorded the biggest increase in new cases, with an almost seven-fold spike (590 percent).
Hong Kong was hot on its heels with 403 percent more cases. Then came Vietnam with 119 percent more, South Korea 40 percent more and Thailand 19 percent more.
The main drops came in Central Asia and the Caucasus, led by Azerbaijan where cases plummeted by 63 percent. In neighbouring Armenia, cases dropped by three fifths and by 52 percent in Georgia. In Panama, the number of cases dropped by 51 percent and in Israel by half.
South Korea has most cases
South Korea overtook Germany, to record the most new cases this week, with 170,300 per day, an increase of two fifths.
Germany, with 153,700, or seven percent less cases, stood in second place.
Vietnam came in third place with 120,600, an increase of 119 percent.
On a per capita basis, the place with the most new cases over the week was Hong Kong, with 3,555 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Latvia followed, with 3,081 and New Zealand with 2,550.
The number of Covid-linked deaths continued to fall, by 19 percent this week to 7,596 per day.
The US again mourned the most deaths, with an average of 1,644 per day, followed by Russia with 776 and Brazil 455.
The countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion to their population were Hong Kong with 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Latvia (6.6) and Georgia (6.3).
© Agence France-Presse