BERLIN (AP) — The World Health Organization says the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases worldwide fell by nearly a quarter last week, continuing its decline since late March.

The Geneva-based United Nations health agency said in a weekly report that nearly 5.59 million cases were reported between April 11 and April 17, 24% less than the previous week. The number of newly reported deaths fell 21% to 18,215.

The WHO said new cases had declined in all regions, but only by 2% in the Americas. The report was dated Wednesday evening and sent to reporters Thursday.

The agency said that “these trends should be interpreted with caution as several countries are gradually changing their testing strategies for COVID-19, resulting in a drop in the overall number of tests performed and, consequently, a drop in the number of cases. detected”.

The countries with the highest number of cases reported last week were South Korea with more than 972,000, France with more than 827,000 and Germany with more than 769,000, the WHO said. The highest numbers of new deaths were reported by the United States, with 3,076, Russia with 1,784 and South Korea with 1,671.

In total, more than 502 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 6.2 million coronavirus-related deaths have been reported to date.