The World Health Organization (WHO) expects one million new coronavirus cases in the next week, with the overall figure set to surpass 10 million.
WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was a “sober reminder” of COVID-19’s continued prevalence.
In the past month alone, he said nearly four million new cases have been reported to the WHO.
Coronavirus infections have continued to surge worldwide this week. On Tuesday, the US state of California recorded more than 5,000 new cases for the first time, while 39,000 were recorded in Brazil.
Speaking at the WHO’s media briefing on Wednesday, Dr Tedros said: “More than 9.1 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 470,000 deaths.
“In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost four million cases have been reported.
“We expect to reach a total of 10 million cases within the next week.
“This is a sober reminder that even as we continue [research and development] into vaccines and therapeutics, we have an urgent responsibility to do everything we can with the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives.”
He said “finding every case, isolating every case, testing for every case, caring for every case and relentless contact tracing... must remain the backbone of the response in every country.”
In the UK on Wednesday, the Department of Health said there were 653 new cases, with 154 deaths reported.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson announced the most significant easing of restrictions since the lockdown was imposed on 23 March.
A number of restrictions are set to be lifted in England from 4 July, with the prime minister saying he will take responsibility for a second wave of infections: “We are indebted to our scientific colleagues for their advice continually, but it is our responsibility to choose.”
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