The spread of COVID-19 around the world has slowed slightly this week but is still rising fast in South America.
While Europe remains the centre of the pandemic, with an average of 236,900 new cases daily – far ahead of the US and Canada’s 174,000 a day – the rise in infections is slowing sharply.
For the second week in a row, they slid, falling back 10 per cent with many countries in lockdown.
But Europe is the only continent where new cases are clearly dropping, according to an AFP tally up to 1100 GMT Friday.
While infections are stable in the US and Canada, Africa and the Middle East, they are up a tenth in Latin America and the Caribbean and 13 per cent in Asia.
While there were only 24 new cases a day in Oceania, that was a rise of 64 per cent last week.
Infections have rocketed in Mexico, up 113 per cent over the week to an average of 8,400 new cases a day.
Turkey saw the world’s second-biggest rise, up 76 per cent, followed by Azerbaidjan (60 per cent up) and Serbia (45 per cent). Pakistan, Japan and South Africa all saw a 27 per cent increase.
The number of confirmed cases only reflects a fraction of the actual number of infections, as different countries have different counting practices and levels of testing.
The biggest falls were all in Europe, with France down nearly a half, Belgium (-37 per cent), Switzerland down one third and Spain and the UK down around quarter.
All five countries have imposed lockdowns or very strict restrictions.
The US had the highest number of new cases this week with an average of 168,700 a day ahead of India (44,000) and Brazil (31,800). While flatlining in the US, infections rose steeply in India (up 12 per cent), Brazil (11 per cent) and Russia, by a tenth.
Georgia topped the global the table this week of per capita cases with 642 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, with Balkan states Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia coming up behind.
In terms of deaths, the US is still by far the worst-hit country with 1,571 par a day – more than twice that of second-placed Italy (711 a day) and Mexico (591), France (547), India (521) and Poland (497).
The US also still heads the overall death toll with 263,462, followed by Brazil with 171,460; India with 135,715; Mexico with 104,242; and the United Kingdom with 57,031.