GENEVA - As the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the pandemic remains a public health emergency, advising countries to be prepared to scale up COVID-19 response rapidly.

“On COVID-19, there’s good news. Last week, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths was recorded since the early days of the pandemic,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing here on Wednesday.

According to the WHO, the global number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to decline during the week of April 4-10 for a third consecutive week, with over 7 million cases and over 22,000 deaths reported, a decrease of 24 percent and 18 percent, respectively, as compared to the previous week.

“However, some countries are still witnessing serious spikes in cases, which is putting pressure on hospitals. And our ability to monitor trends is compromised as testing has significantly reduced,” Tedros said.