World Health Organisation says COVID cases are levelling off globally

The number of new coronavirus cases reported globally appears to be stabilising at about 4.5 million infections after steadily rising for the past two months, the World Health Organisation says.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said COVID-19 increased by about 20 per cent in the Western Pacific and eight per cent in the Americas, while rates of disease either remained the same or dropped in other regions.

The countries with the highest numbers of new cases were the United States, Iran, India, Britain and Brazil.

A file photo of funeral pyres at a crematorium in New Delhi
Deaths in India since COVID-19 are likely to be in the millions, far higher than the official toll. Credit: AP
COVID numbers in Iran are still very high. File image. Credit: EPA

The assessment released on Tuesday said there were about 68,000 new deaths reported globally, with Europe and the Americas registering increases of about 10 per cent.

The WHO also noted several recent studies that show licensed vaccines still provide protection against severe coronavirus disease.

Research shows vaccine protection against COVID fades by six months.
UK researchers say COVID protection by Pfizer and AstraZeneca begins to fade within six months. Credit: AP

But there is some evidence to show the shots are less effective at preventing people from becoming infected with the more contagious Delta variant.

Previous research concluded the vaccines are most useful for preventing hospital admissions and deaths, not virus transmission.

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