Over the last week, 4.4 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, said “we’re in a critical point of the pandemic,” amid countries easing restrictions.

“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic where we have proven control measures. It is the time right now where everyone has to take stock and have a reality check of what we need to be doing,” she said. “Vaccines and vaccinations are coming online, but they aren’t here yet in every part of the world.”

COVID-19 cases increased 9 percent globally last week, marking the seventh-consecutive weekly increase. The WHO has ramped up its warnings to the world amid a recent surge in mutated strains of the virus which they have said is “stronger, it’s faster.”

India has surpassed Brazil as the country with the second most confirmed cases behind the United States. In the region, a double-mutant variant that researchers believe could spread more quickly has emerged.

In the US, a new mutated strain, B.1.1.7., has taken over as the most common variant of COVID-19 in the United States.

The WHO is continuing to recommend safety measures that can mitigate the implications of COVID variants.

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