Global epidemiological situation
Over 1.8 million new COVID-19 cases and 38 000 new deaths were reported to WHO in the week ending
30 August, a 1% increase in the number of cases and 3% decrease in the number of deaths compared to
the previous week (17 to 23 August). A cumulative total of nearly 25 million cases and 800 000
deaths have been reported since the start of the outbreak.
Overall, the Region of the Americas continues to carry the highest burden of COVID-19 globally,
accounting for nearly half of all new cases reported in the past seven days, although within the region
there have been slight decreases in new cases and deaths in the past week. The WHO South East Asia
Region showed the highest rise in new cases in the past week, with over 500,000 new cases reported. In
the European Region, new cases and new deaths have continued to increase over the past seven days
compared to the previous week. Along with the Region of the Americas, the percentage change in new
cases in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific Regions have all declined compared with
Several countries in the Region that were previous COVID-19 hotspots have recorded a reduction in case
incidence including Ghana, Kenya, Gabon and Madagascar. While the observed declining trends are
encouraging, the figures should be interpreted cautiously as they may be affected by many factors,
including the current testing capacity and strategy, and delays in reporting.
Cases in Ethiopia have continued to rise, reaching new highs this week (10 621 cases) with Addis Ababa
remaining the worst affected region. In response, the Ethiopian government, with support from WHO,
have launched the COVID-19 Enhanced Community Based Activities and Testing Campaign (ComBAT).
ComBAT aims to reach out to over 60 million individuals in a variety of settings, conduct 200 000 tests
and treat 10 000 cases.
At 622 551 cases, South Africa has the fifth highest number of COVID-19 infections globally and the
highest number in Africa. However, there has been a marked decline in new cases since they peaked on
25 July at 13 944 cases, and the downward trend has continued this week with new cases falling by 34%
(Figure 3). As a result, the government has eased public health and social measures while reminding the
public to remain vigilant
Region of the Americas
The Americas account for approximately 13% of the world’s population, but over 50% of officially
reported global cases and deaths. Currently, while the biggest drivers of the case counts in the region
have observed a moderate decline or stabalisation of case incidence (Figure 4), increasing trends are
now being seen in other parts of the region including Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. Social
gatherings could also have contributed to the increase in cases in the region. WHO recommends avoiding
the ‘three c’s’-crowded places, close contact settings, and confined and enclosed settings. More advice from
WHO on how to protect yourself and others from the spread COVID-19 can be found here.
The United States of America has the highest number of cases in the world – over 5.8 million cases, a
quarter of the global total. However, the country has witnessed a decline in new cases from previous
peaks in July of over 70 000 cases per day to an average of 41 000 new cases per day this past week. As
school and university campuses have reopened, there have been news reports of students testing
positive. WHO has published guidance for school-related public health measures in the context of
Although cases in Colombia have declined in the past week, they have been gradually increasing since
June and continued caution is required. After five months of implementing public health and social
measures, Colombia will begin easing the measures beginning 1 September.
Argentina has reported new peaks in the number of cases cases reported weekly and an upward
trajectory in cases and deaths since June. Cases in Mexico declined by 6% in the past week and have
declined gradually across the month of August. Mexico is implementing remote teaching and education
for children to reduce transmission
Eastern Mediterranean Region
The Eastern Mediterranean Region has observed a fluctuating incidence of new cases in recent weeks
(Figure 5). The highest number of new cases have been seen in Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and
Kuwait. WHO, in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Health and its implementing partners, has
concluded another round of a COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign that intensified community outreach
efforts to educate people on measures to limit transmission of COVID-19. The campaign reached more
than 5 million people in four densely populated and heavily affected areas in Basra, Wasit, Thi Qar and
Missan. Campaign teams are moving to the Kurdistan region and will be targeting 9 heavily populated,
high-risk areas in Sulaymaniyah province. Over the past week WHO has also delivered 6 ambulances to
the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region and 22 tonnes of COVID-19 equipment.
In Pakistan, cases have fallen from over 5 000 per day in mid-June to 2 871 cases in the past week. As the
public health and social measures are lifted, the public is encouraged to take precautions to ensure a
resurgence does not occur particularly as they celebrate the first 10 days of the month of Muharram,
which started on 21 August.European Region
Gradual increases continue to be observed in the European Region (Figure 6), with Spain, Russia, France,
and Ukraine reporting the highest number of new cases this week. Spain has seen a resurgence since
mid-July and cases are now reaching the peaks previously seen in March and April. July and August is the
holiday season in Spain, and social interactions have likely contributed to the increased number of
reported cases. Spain has deployed the military to support contact tracing activities.
France has also seen a growing number of cases since the end of July with cases rising from around 500
cases per day to approximately 4 773 cases per day over the past week.
Cases in Italy have shown a marked increase in the past seven days, up by 85% overall compared to last
In the European Region many of those of who died of COVID-19 have been elderly people (as of this
week 88% of all deaths were in persons aged 65 years and over). WHO has published comprehensive
guidance on preventing and managing COVID-19 across long-term care services.
South-East Asia Region
South-East Asia has reported the largest week-on-week increase (Figure 7), largely due to increased case
detections in India. India has reported nearly 500 000 new cases in the past seven days, a 9% increase
compared to the previous seven days and the highest numbers of new cases globally. While these trends
are concerning, the increase in cases should be seen against a substansive rise in testing in recent weeks.
In Indonesia, cases have been gradually increasing while there are also concerns about transmission
among family members of school children as 40% of people aged 60 years and older in Indonesia live in
three-generation households, meaning that they live with their children and grandchildren. WHO has
published interim guidance on considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of
COVID-19 and a joint document with UNICEF and IFRC on key messages and actions for COVID-19
prevention and control in schools. WHO has also convened a technical advisory group on schools.
Western Pacific Region
The Philippines and Japan are reporting the highest number of new cases in the region this week
although cases in Japan have been decreasing since the end of June with a 22% decrease in overall cases
reported this week compared to last week. In the Philippines, a large percentage of cases have been
reported from the National Capital Region.
Key weekly updates
WHO has issued updated interim guidance on hotels and other accommodation facilitiesto help the
sector protect the safety of staff and clients. See also the Q&A’s on Staying at hotels and accommodation
establishments and COVID-19 and Working in hotels and COVID-19.
• WHO has also released guidance for shipowners, seafarers, unions and associations and associated
authorities for promoting public health measures on cargo ships and fishing vessels. This complements
guidance for employers to make sure they implement containment measures at workplaces and the
• Speaking at his regular media briefing on 27 August, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros highlighted the
momentous achievement of eradicating wild poliovirus in Africa and sleeping sickness in Togo. Dr Tedros
went on to say that “globally, we need the same spirit of solidarity and partnership that are helping to
end polio and sleeping sickness to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• The results of a WHO survey conducted to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on up to 25
essential health services in countries show disruptions of essential health services in nearly all countries,
and more so in lower-income than higher-income countries. The great majority of service disruptions
were partial, which was defined as a change of 5–50% in service provision or use.
• WHO has published an overview of the structure, methodology, and assumptions used by the COVID-19
Essential Supplies Forecasting Tool (ESFT). The ESFT is designed to help governments, partners, and other
stakeholders to estimate potential requirements for essential supplies to respond to the current
pandemic of COVID-19.