World Health Organisation warns Covid-19 'accelerating' out of control as global cases count nears 12 million

The World Health Organisation is continuing to warn the global community that the Covid-19 pandemic is getting worse around the world with new cases “accelerating” out of control in some areas.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus updated the state of Covid-19 while speaking at the member state briefing overnight and said the total number of cases of coronavirus worldwide has doubled in the past six weeks to reach 11.8 million.

Dr Tedros said the pandemic showed no signs of slowing in the hardest-hit countries – the US, Brazil and India – which recorded 129,000 new daily virus cases between them on Thursday; the US was the highest at 59,000.

"The virus has up-ended health systems in some of the world's wealthiest nations,” Dr Tedros said.

"Some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means.

"We know that when countries take a comprehensive approach based on fundamental public health measures – such as find, isolate, test and treat cases, and trace and quarantine contacts – the outbreak can be brought under control.

"But in most of the world the virus is not under control. It is getting worse.

The worst hit country, the US, is approaching the grim milestone of almost one in every hundred people infected with Covid-19.

"More than 11.8 million cases of Covid-19 have now been reported to WHO,” Dr Tedros added.

"More than 544,000 lives have been lost… and the pandemic is still accelerating."

Away from the three hardest-hit countries, India reported nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections this week, bringing the total to 767,296.

India's infection numbers have risen significantly since their government eased lockdown restrictions. It’s believed increased testing - more than 200,000 samples a day – has also contributed to the rise however health experts say the true extent of the virus's spread in India, which has a population of 1.35 billion, is unknown.

In Europe, where many countries are reporting declines, new hot spots have emerged such as in Serbia where a spike in numbers is being blamed on the lifting of restrictions.

Serbia has confirmed more than 17,000 cases amongst its population of almost seven million and the capital's health system is "close to breaking".

Tokyo confirmed it had a "wake-up call" of 220 new infections, exceeding its record daily increase from mid-April and prompting concerns of widening of the infections.

Closer to home, the Australian state of Victoria is struggling with the emergence of two large clusters which have now merged, health authorities said.

Investigators say it has become clear the 113-case Al-Taqwa College cluster and the 159-case public housing towers outbreak have strong connections but it is not known which may have become infected first.

New Zealand has 23 active cases in quarantine but concerns have risen in the past week with three separate incidents where those in isolation have left their confines.