The risk associated with the Omicron variant remains very high, with the numbers of new COVID-19 cases hitting a record high last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
In the seven-day period, over 21 million new cases were reported, representing the highest number of weekly cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.
The UN health agency said the number of new infections increased by five percent in the week to Sunday, compared to the 20 percent rise registered the week before.
“A slower increase in case incidence was observed at the global level,” the WHO said.
Nearly 50,000 new deaths were also reported, a similar figure to the week before.
The report said Omicron continued to increase its dominance globally over the other variants of concern.
“The current global epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by the dominance of the Omicron variant on a global scale, continued decline in the prevalence of the Delta variant, and very low-level circulation of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants,” the WHO said.
“Countries that experienced a rapid rise in Omicron cases in November and December 2021 have been or are beginning to see declines in cases.
However, “based on the currently available evidence, the overall risk related to the Omicron variant remains very high.”
The WHO further said that of samples collected in the last 30 days that have been sequenced and uploaded to the GISAID global science initiative, Omicron accounted for 89.1 percent, while Delta, previously the world’s dominant variant now makes up 10.7 percent.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, the COVID-19 positivity rate has slowed to 3.4 percent after 185 people tested positive on Tuesday from a sample size of 5,515 tested in the last 24 hours.
The total confirmed positive cases are now 320,584 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 3,195,460.
At the same time, 440 patients have recovered from the virus raising the total recoveries to 292,357.
Four patients have succumbed, all of them being late deaths reported after conducting facility record audits in the month of January. The cumulative fatalities is 5,562.
“A total of 711 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide, while 5,563 are under the home-based isolation and care program. 37 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 35 of them on ventilatory support,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe stated.
Another 155 patients are on supplemental oxygen and 154 of them are in the general wards. One patient is in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).