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Epidemiological Alert: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), 19 March 2022

In the context of the increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported mainly from countries in the WHO Regions of Africa, Europe, and the Western Pacific, the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) recommends Member States continue to prepare for and respond to a potential similar increase within the countries and territories in the Region of the Americas.

Situation Summary

Following 12 consecutive weeks of a substantial increase in weekly reported cases at the global level, a declining trend in COVID-19 cases has been observed since epidemiological week (EW) 4 of 2022, and in deaths (since EW 6 of 2022). However, in EW 10 of 2022, a relative increase in the global number of new cases was reported, as a result of increases in 3 of the 6 WHO Regions: Western Pacific (29%), Africa (12%), and Europe (2%)(1) (Figure 1).

At the global level, the countries that reported the largest relative increase in new cases during EW 10 of 2022 were: Viet Nam (65%), the Republic of Korea (44%), the Netherlands (42%), and Germany (22%) (1). Additionally, at the global level, the variant of concern (VOC) Omicron is currently the predominant circulating variant and has displaced VOC Delta. Among the total number of sequences published in the GISAID platform in the last 30 days, 99% corresponded to VOC Omicron and 0.1% to VOC Delta. As of 18 March 2022, most of the VOC Omicron sequences published in the GISAID platform correspond to the BA.1 (45.3%) and BA.1.1 (37.8%) sublineages, while BA.2 accounts for 16.6% and BA.3 accounts for 0.03% of the VOC Omicron sequences (Figure 2) (1, 2).

Source: World Health Organization