Geneva, April 20: New Covid-19 cases worldwide have increased for the eighth week running, with a record 5.2 million infections reported in the past seven days and an alarming growth rate in young people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
As of Tuesday morning, the current global caseload and death toll stood at 141,813,257 and 3,027,353, respectively.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 31,737,347 and 567,690, respectively.
Addressing a press briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that deaths also rose for the fifth straight week, pushing the global death toll to over three million, Xinhua news agency reported.
The pandemic has been gathering pace recently, according to the WHO's numbers.
"It took nine months to reach one million deaths; four months to reach two million, and three months to reach three million," the WHO chief said.
Meanwhile, infections and hospitalisations among people aged 25 to 59 are increasing at an alarming rate, he said, possibly as a result of highly transmissible variants and increased social mixing among younger adults.
To cope with the urgent need for Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, the WHO issued an expression of interest on April 17 for establishing a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines, in hopes of increasing production of those vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.
Tedros called for the original manufacturers of mRNA vaccines to contribute their technology and know-how to a central hub, and for manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to express interest in receiving that technology.
"We have seen incredible innovation in science; now we need innovation to ensure as many people as possible benefit from that science," he said.