COVID infections, deaths on the rise in Middle East - WHO

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N95 face masks hang to be sterilized with UVC light, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Cleveland Clinic hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/Files

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CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Middle Eastern countries have seen a rise in coronavirus infections in the last six weeks because of low vaccination rates, officials at the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office said on Wednesday.

Reported COVID-19 cases rose to a daily average of 110,000 in the past six weeks, while average daily deaths rose to 345 in the last three weeks, WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said on Wednesday.

More than 35% of the region's population is fully vaccinated. But one quarter of the countries have not yet reached 10% vaccination coverage, said Rana Hajjeh, director of programme management.

The WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region comprises the Middle East, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti and Afghanistan, among others.

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Reporting by Sarah El Safty; Editing by Nick Macfie

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