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No region in the world spared as virus cases, deaths surge

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 patients are treated in the municipal hospital of Sao Joao de Meriti, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

WARSAW – Hospitals in Turkey and Poland are filling up. Pakistan is restricting domestic travel. The U.S. government will send more help to the state with the country's worst infection increase.

The worldwide surge in coronavirus cases and deaths includes even Thailand, which has weathered the pandemic far better than many nations but now struggles to contain COVID-19.

The only exceptions to the deteriorating situation are countries that have advanced vaccination programs, most notably Israel and Britain. The U.S., which is a vaccination leader globally, is also seeing a small uptick in new cases, and the White House announced Friday that it would send federal assistance to Michigan to control the state’s worst-in-the-nation transmission rate.

The World Health Organization said infection rates are climbing in every global region, driven by new virus variants and too many countries coming out of lockdown too soon.

“We’ve seen rises (in cases) worldwide for six weeks. And now, sadly, we are seeing rises in deaths for the last three weeks,” Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said at a briefing in Geneva.

In its weekly epidemiological update, the WHO said over 4 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the last week. New deaths increased by 11% compared to last week, with over 71,000 reported.

The increasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths extend to countries where vaccinations are finally gaining momentum. That leaves even bleaker prospects for much of the world, where large-scale vaccination programs remain a more distant prospect.

In Turkey, which is among the badly hit countries, most new cases of the virus can be traced to a variant first found in Britain.