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Deaths From COVID-19 Increasing in Europe, Stable and Falling in Middle East, WHO Says
Pfizer filed an application for emergency use authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration for its experimental antiviral pill against the coronavirus. (Pixabay)

Deaths From COVID-19 Increasing in Europe, Stable and Falling in Middle East, WHO Says

Pfizer announced this week that it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its experimental antiviral pill against the coronavirus to 95 low- and lower-middle-income countries

Europe was the only region where deaths from COVID-19 increased last week, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday in its weekly epidemiological update on the coronavirus. The 61 countries in the European region reported a 5% increase in new deaths, while the other regions reported stable or declining trends.

Meanwhile, infections have been falling in the Middle East. In Israel, new cases of the coronavirus have fallen to under 500 a day and are holding steady, with daily deaths from the disease at between 0 and 3.  Deaths in Iran in recent weeks have hovered slightly above 100, down from a high of nearly 700 deaths a day in late August. Deaths in Turkey were slightly more than 200 a day in the last week, after having under 40 daily deaths for several days in July. Saudi Arabia announced that there were two new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, which is similar to the daily figure in recent days.

Pfizer this week filed an application for emergency use authorization for its experimental antiviral pill against the coronavirus with the US Food and Drug Administration. In clinical trials the oral drug, called Paxlovid, cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of getting a severe case of the virus by 89%. It is not known how long it will take for USFDA regulators to rule on the application. Pfizer also has requested emergency use authorization in several other countries, including authorization of the treatment in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. The company says it will manufacture some 50 million courses of the drug by the end of 2022.

The Israeli government inked a deal over the weekend with Pfizer to buy tens of thousands of doses of the antiviral pill, with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett saying it will be “another significant tool in managing the pandemic, together with vaccines for everyone and accessible tests for everyone.”

Pfizer also announced this week that it will allow generic manufacturers to supply the Paxlovid pill to 95 low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Israel on Sunday announced that it would delay allowing tourists who were vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to enter the country. Israel had originally announced that visitors who received the Sputnik V vaccine could enter the country beginning on November 15, but postponed that date until December 1. In addition to being vaccinated with the Russian-developed vaccine, the tourists are required to take a serological test to show that they have antibodies against the virus. Israel decided to allow Russian tourist in following a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last month.

Finally, an Israeli study published this week in Nature Communications found that people vaccinated with two shots of the have a 51% higher chance of coming down with the coronavirus six months later compared to people three to four months after being vaccinated with two shots, showing that there is a decline in antibody levels and immune system compounds after four to six months, and making the case for a booster shot. The study also found that the age of the vaccinated person had no effect on the waning effectiveness of the vaccine.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 6:30 am Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0) on Thursday.

 

Country

Confirmed CasesDeathsRecoveredActive Cases
Afghanistan156,7397,297134,75014,692
Algeria208,3806,005142,93659,439
Bahrain277,2821,393275,682207
Cyprus128,770588122,0416,141
Djibouti13,50018613,28529
Egypt346,80819,707289,53337,568
Iran6,057,893128,5315,734,181195,181
Iraq2,071,68923,5802,028,74119,368
Israel1,338,8138,1541,325,4485,211
Jordan901,99911,291857,20233,506
Kuwait413,0682,463410,332273
Lebanon655,1748,606625,31321,255
Libya366,2385,332322,61138,295
Mauritania38,35881136,733814
Morocco948,53914,754930,4943,291
Oman304,4534,113299,872468
Pakistan1,280,82228,6381,229,68322,501
Palestinian Territories427,3734,499420,0692,805
Qatar241,527611239,1471,769
Saudi Arabia549,3398,820538,4122,107
Somalia22,8371,31311,18910,335
Sudan40,2383,09932,9054,234
Syria46,7032,68227,96316,058
Tunisia715,91125,325689,705881
Turkey8,480,98674,2027,970,207436,577
United Arab Emirates741,1482,144735,8163,188
Yemen9,9471,9296,6901,328
Total26,784,534396,07325,450,940937,521

 

Ben Zabelshansky contributed to this report.

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