Europe made up almost half of the world’s 4 million new coronavirus cases last week but recorded a nearly 10% fall in infections compared to the week before, thanks in part to strict government lockdown measures that have fanned some discontent, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.
The latest weekly tally from the U.N. health agency found its 54-nation European region continued to report most new cases of any region worldwide — 46% — but its decline in cases followed “the strengthening of public health and social measures.”
But as new cases fell, the tally of virus deaths still rose “substantially” in Europe over the last week to more than 29,000 new deaths, WHO said, according to AP.
WHO’s Americas region saw a 41% increase in new cases, suggesting that a higher weekly death toll could soon follow there. Southeast Asia was the only region that saw a drop in cases and deaths.
In Europe, WHO said the sharpest rise in coronavirus cases was in Austria, which saw a 30% increase in new cases compared to the previous week. WHO also noted the U.K. was the first country in the region to record more than 50,000 deaths.
Pockets of Western Europe have shown signs of turning a corner, particularly in the lowlands near the English Channel.
Europe has seen over 338,000 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University..