The World Health Organization has said that the Delta variant of the coronavirus has now been reported in 135 countries, PTI reported on Thursday. In its latest weekly epidemiological update on Covid-19, the UN body noted that more than 40 lakh new cases were reported across the world last week between July 26 to August 1.

The highly transmissible Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has emerged as the dominant strain of the infection over the past couple of months and led to a renewed surge in cases in several countries.

Globally, the total number of cases went past the 20 crore-mark on Thursday. The world’s tally now stands at 20.04 crore, while 42.61 lakh people have died due to the infection, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Daily caseload in the United States hit a six-month high as more than one lakh one infections were reported in the country on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The seven-day average of cases in the US stood at 94,819, as the Delta variant spread rapidly through areas where people did not get vaccinated, the news agency reported.

The country’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci warned that the number of cases could double to two lakhs in a day in the coming weeks.

China, which has been reporting the highest number of cases since January, reported 94 new cases on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Public transport and taxi services have been curtailed in 144 of the worst-hit areas in the country.

In Capital Beijing, authorities have prohibited use of community spaces for entertainment, limited the number of visitors allowed at parks and scenic areas and implemented a two week quarantine for visitors from high-risk areas.

Hong Kong has also reimposed quarantine requirements on passengers from the mainland, except those from the Guangdong province.

Australia too is struggling with an outbreak of cases due to the Delta variant. The country’s seventh-largest city and capital of the New South Wales state, Sydney, reported a record 262 infections and five deaths on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The surge in cases is despite the fact that Sydney is now nearing the seventh week of a nine-week lockdown. Another state, Victoria too, announced a one-week lockdown on Thursday. With this, the country’s three most populous cities – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – are now under lockdown.