South Korea, Hungary, Latvia cases rise

Health authorities in Hungary, Latvia and South Korea have registered an increase in coronavirus cases while the World Health Organisation says global infections overall have fallen in the past week.

Hungary recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases in five months on Thursday amid a spike in coronavirus deaths and hospitalisations.

Officials reported 1141 new cases, the highest daily total since May 14.

The increase pushed the number of cases so far this week to a 37 per cent jump over the same period last week.

The country of nearly 10 million has 742 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, the highest number since early June.

Pandemic containment measures in Hungary have been largely repealed since early July.

South Korea reported more than 1000 new coronavirus infections for the 100th consecutive day as a Delta-driven outbreak continues to spread in the greater capital area.

Health officials said 1580 of the 1940 new cases reported on Thursday are in the Seoul metropolitan region.

The capital area has been under South Korea’s toughest distancing measures short of a lockdown since July.

Private social gatherings of three or more people are banned after 6pm unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

Officials say people’s frustration with physical distancing is becoming an increasing challenge and hope the improving vaccination rate will allow more flexible measures soon.

As of Thursday morning, about 61 per cent in the population of more than 51 million were fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections in Latvia has reached an all-time high for the second day in a row.

In the Baltic EU country, 2408 positive tests were recorded within 24 hours on Thursday after 2236 cases the previous day.

According to the health authority in Riga, 1056.8 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been registered in the last 14 days, another record since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Latvia, the coronavirus figures have risen significantly in recent weeks.

President Egils Levits also tested positive in a rapid test on Wednesday evening after coming back from a working visit to Sweden.

In view of the renewed strong spread of the coronavirus, the government in Riga has declared a state of emergency.

It has been in effect since Monday and is due to last until January 11.

In Latvia, just under half of the 1.9 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government has been trying for months with only moderate success to increase the population’s willingness to get vaccinated.

The WHO says the number of global coronavirus cases fell in the last week, continuing a downward trend that began in late August.

In its latest weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said there were about 2.8 million new cases and 46,000 confirmed deaths in the last week, a drop of 7 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Europe reported a 7 per cent rise in cases while all other world regions reported a decrease.

The WHO said Europe also had the biggest rise in deaths in the previous week, with 11 per cent more COVID-19 deaths.

It said the highest numbers of new cases in Europe were reported in the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia.

The biggest drops in cases came in Africa and the western Pacific, where case numbers fell by 32 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

with DPA

News Gaffer