Globally, over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths reported continued to decrease, with over 4.1 million new cases and 84 000 new deaths reported. The European Region reported the largest decline in new cases and deaths this week, followed by the South-East Asia Region. The Region of the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, African, and Western Pacific Regions reported similar numbers of cases to the previous week.
In this edition, a special focus update is provided on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs) B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and B.1.617. This includes updates on emerging evidence surrounding the phenotypic characteristics of VOCs (transmissibility, disease severity, risk of reinfection, and impacts on diagnostics and vaccine performance), as well as updates on the geographic distribution of VOCs.