COVID-19 cases are
rising in various parts of the world after a brief pause when the world hoped
that the end of the global pandemic was near. South East Asia, including China,
South Korea and Hong Kong, are all reporting major spikes. China reported its
first COVID death in a year on Saturday. It has locked down major cities amid
appeals from industry that to protect the economy. South Korea reported a
staggering 621,328 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

COVID cases are on
an upward trend in Europe as well. France has seen a 35% weekly increase in cases
while the UK and Italy have seen a 42% weekly uptick, according to estimates by
AFP. This, at a time when waning COVID cases led to governments taking it easy
on testing parameters and pandemic curbs. The World Health Organization (WHO)
said the current numbers are only the “tip of the iceberg” because testing has
dropped in several regions.

According to the
WHO, these are the three reasons why COVID cases are seeing a sudden uptick:


The Omicron
variant, first discovered in South Africa last year, turned the course of the
pandemic in many ways as nations went on the overdrive with restrictions with
memory of the Delta variant weighing on them. Now, Omicron has developed a
subtype called BA2 which is driving up infection rates. The current surge in
China is believed to be due to this subtype.

Stealth +

The other danger
is that the Omicron variant and its BA2 subtype have combined. The first case
of this combination was detected in Israel. While the transmissibility and
risks of this combination are yet to become clear, scientists believe this
could indeed be more transmissible causing cases to suddenly spike.

Letting loose

With economies
suffering due to a two-year disruption caused by the pandemic escalated now by
the Russian aggression in Ukraine, governments across the world have given up
on most of the COVID curbs that had been put in place to reduce disease spread.
Further, mask-wearing and individual care norms are also often being given a

In this context,
the WHO has recommended that people continue to wear masks, especially in
crowded areas, avoid large gatherings and practice proper personal hygiene by
regularly disinfecting hands and frequently touched surfaces. In addition to
watering down of curbs, misinformation campaigns have stilted vaccination
efforts in several countries.