The number of cases of coronavirus around the world has doubled in the last six weeks alone, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said that the pandemic “continues to accelerate”.
Almost 16 million cases have been reported to WHO.
“In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled,” he told a press briefing in Geneva.
Covid-19 has changed our world
Meanwhile, 640,000 deaths linked to the virus have been reported to the global health body.
He said: “Covid-19 has changed our world. It has brought people, communities and nations together, and driven them apart. It has shown what humans are capable of – both positively and negatively.
“We have learned an enormous amount, and we’re still learning.”
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, told the press briefing that “our new normal includes physical distancing from others”.
She said: “What we’re going to have to figure out, and I think what we’re all going to have to figure out together, is what our new normal looks like.
“Our new normal includes physical distancing from others, our new normal can include wearing masks where appropriate, our new normal includes us knowing where this virus is each and every day – where we live, where we work, where we want to travel.
“And that’s going to be part of how we move forward with this – finding the balance between keeping the virus transmission low and resuming normal activities.”
"Services for #hepatitis prevention, testing & treatment have been disrupted, supply chains are being interrupted, limited financial & human resources are being diverted & the political focus has shifted to containing the #COVID19 pandemic & economic recovery"-@DrTedros— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 27, 2020
WHO officials were also asked about the situation in Spain, where a recent spike in infections led to the UK imposing a quarantine on people arriving in the UK from the country.
Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said Spanish officials are acting in an “open and responsible way” and praised the country’s “aggressive” surveillance strategy.
Meanwhile, Dr Tedros said that “the road to hepatitis elimination has been made harder by Covid-19”.
But he said that progress has been made with regard to hepatitis B – new research from WHO and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that the prevalence of hepatitis B infections in children under five years of age has dropped to less than 1 per cent.