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The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 24 March 2022

The CODE COVID-19 International Update, 24 March 2022
Dr Priscilla Robinson

The Code COVID19 International Update is a weekly snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing efforts by nations around the world to test, track and fight the virus. It’s compiled by Dr Priscilla Robinson, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at LaTrobe University, and an editor for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Hi all

View the latest spreadsheet here

As this week’s snapshot shows, in general the number of cases is about the same worldwide as the week before. However, the African continent and also the Eastern Mediterranean continue to have a quiet time, probably for different reasons, whilst the Pacific is having a continued surge in many of its countries.

The problem countries in the Western Pacific include Samoa (which has had around a six-fold increase from 48 cases to 295) and Vanuatu (up four-fold this week from 266 to 1,032) which take the prizes for rises in case proportions. The Cook Islands and Tonga have both (only?) doubled cases this week, although fatalities are stable at present (Cook Islands have had none yet) – if they rise next week it will not be surprising given this surge. South Korea (up 25% again this week), and Viet Nam is still having big weekly numbers (about a 10% rise). China has reported an about 10% increase of both cases and fatalities, centred as I understand it in large cities.

Chile has reported a 20% increase in deaths – which is possibly a recalibration of some sort?

In the war zones, Russia is having a higher proportion on new cases than the Ukraine, although how on earth anyone is able to count cases remotely accurately in the Ukraine (or for that matter the Yemen) at the moment is something of a mystery right now.

Australia has shot up the international number rankings to now be at #24 worldwide in terms of case numbers, up from #33 last week, and is gradually rising in terms of population attack rates too. WA has doubled both cases and fatalities this week, and all states and territories have had notable numbers of especially cases (although fatalities not so much so – maybe for most places our most frail people have already encountered COVID and WA is experiencing the waves other states have had previously. Gozzone land, New Zealand, has had a torrid week with a 20% jump in cases and 33% rise in fatalities. In the global south we are heading towards winter, so none of this is good news.

There is nothing new to report in the vaccine department. Things remain as ever., the rich countries having good access and resource-poor countries dealing with lack of supplies and sometimes considerable misinformation. Maybe try to remember that when booking your holiday.

News reports:

From the UK BBC – COVID-19: Less stomach bugs recorded during UK’s lockdown  – which helps remind everyone that those protective measures really work for many diseases apart from COVID. Including influenza … so I have attached the latest Australian Flu Tracking report as it illustrates this point quite well, with things about back to normal now that everyone has given up face masks etc.

Until next week,


About Dr Priscilla Robinson and The CODE COVID-19 International Update

Dr Robinson is a public health epidemiologist with particular interests in international health and communicable diseases, and public health competencies. She has worked in health departments in England and Australia, has managed public health teaching programmes, and taught and researched many aspects of public health epidemiology and policy in many countries. She is an adjunct Associate Professor at LaTrobe University, and to stop herself being bored is an editor of PHAA’s journal ANZJPH, and holds board positions (almost all unpaid) on various NGOs, journals, and at her local hospital. Otherwise, 10 acres of untamed bushland on a hill in South Gippsland, VIC, makes weight-bearing gym exercise and strength training a bit redundant.

The CODE Update is a regular Intouch feature to keep readers informed of COVID-19 developments around the world.

The CODE Update originally began at the start of the SARS CoV-2 pandemic as Priscilla’s way of explaining to her friends and family around the world what was happening, and counter their experiences of information overload and misinformation. The update provides links to practical materials and papers written for people who are not versed in the language of outbreaks and epidemic curves. Published weekly, it includes a short commentary to provide context to the numbers included in the spreadsheets.

Note: While every attempt is made to transcribe all data faithfully, every now and again mistakes are made and not noticed until the next Update. Also, on occasion, numbers are revised after posting at the source databases.

We hope you will find these updates to be a helpful tool, and the links to current information useful.

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