World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom says he expects the number of coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, to reach 10 million next week.
Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.
He said the WHO was now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices that boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.
“Demand is outstripping supply,” he said.
Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked and that it was “still intense,” especially in Central and South America.
“I would characterise the situation as still evolving, not having reached its peak yet, and likely to result in sustained numbers of cases and deaths in the coming weeks,” Ryan said.
Many countries in the region have experienced 25-50 per cent increases in cases in the last week, he said.
In the United States, new COVID-19 cases have surged to the highest level in two months.
According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US on Tuesday reported 34,700 new cases of the virus.
That’s more than on any single day since the outbreak began with the exception of April 9, when 34,800 cases were reported, and April 24, when a record 36,400 cases were reported.
New cases in the US have been surging for more than a week, after they had been trending down for more than six weeks.
The US has more known cases of the coronavirus than any other country, with more than 2.3 million people infected and more than 121,000 dead.
In Europe, Slovenia’s government reintroduced the mandatory use of face masks in closed public spaces and on public transport on Wednesday after a spike in cases in recent days.
Health Minister Tomaz Gantar said Slovenia has confirmed 20 new cases since June 20, with the total number of positive cases in the country 1541 and 109 people have died.
India reported a record daily increase of nearly 16,000 new cases on Wednesday and Mexico, where testing rates have been low, also set a record with more than 6200 new cases.
But China appears to have tamed a new outbreak of the virus in Beijing, once again demonstrating its ability to quickly mobilise vast resources by testing nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days.
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