A record number of coronavirus cases were reported worldwide last week.
According to a weekly epidemiological update by the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 3.35 million cases of COVID-19 reported globally between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1, the most ever recorded in a one-week period and a 14 per cent increase from the previous week.
There were also just over 45,000 deaths recorded last week, the most in one week since mid-April.
Cases have been steadily rising since early October, particularly in Europe, which accounted for nearly half of all new cases globally last week.
Europe reported 1.7 million cases, a 22 per cent increase from the previous week. Deaths in Europe also increased by 46 per cent from the week before.
In its epidemiological update, WHO said there has been a “considerable escalation” of new cases in the Europe region, highlighting skyrocketing case numbers in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Switerzland.
It pointed out that in France, the occupancy rate of intensive care beds in the country due to patients with COVID-19 is soaring, particularly among those 65 and older.
Italy, according to WHO, saw a 72 per cent increase in cases from the previous week, reporting 175,000 cases, which is more than half of the total number of cases reported in Canada since the pandemic began.
The situation in Switzerland wasn’t a whole lot better. WHO said the country saw more than 50,000 new cases last week, a marked increase from mid-August when it was reported less than 250 cases a week.
Meanwhile, the number of cases reported last week in the Americas region was up by 13 per cent from the prior week.
WHO said although the increase of new cases in the Americas region is “much lower” than in Europe, it noted that the United States, Brazil and Argentina continue to report the highest number of new cases.
The majority of new cases in the Americas region last week were reported in the United States, which recorded 548,965 cases, a 26 per cent increase from the prior week.
The global health agency highlighted Colombia in its update, explaining that while cases have fallen since mid-August, they are rising again and that Approximately 40 per cent of cases are in those who are between 20-39.
Elsewhere, Eastern Mediterranean region continues to see a climb in new cases while the South East Asia region continues to see a decline, particularly in India. However, it expressed concern about rising case numbers in Sri Lanka, which reported a 53 per cent increase from the previous week.
Lastly, the Western Pacific region, which includes Japan, Philippines, China, Singapore and Australia, continues to see a decline in new cases.
According to WHO, there were a little more than 26,000 new cases reported in the past week in the region, down slightly from the week before.
The Philippines, according to WHO, accounted for 50 per cent of the new cases and 75 per cent of all new deaths in the region in the last week. The country has reported the most total number of cases of any nation in the region, with more than 385,000 cases.
WHO also noted that Marshall Islands reported its first two COVID-19 cases last week and that China has seen an uptick in cases, which are linked to factories in the Xinjiang province.
On a positive note, WHO said multiple COVID-19 vaccines are in the final stages of trials.