Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 1 crore during the last week, driven by the Omicron variant of the disease, reported Bloomberg on Monday. The number was almost double the previous highest weekly rise in cases of 57 lakh recorded in April.

France recorded 2,19,126 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, pushing the infection tally in the country to over one crore, reported Reuters. With this, France has become the sixth country in the world to register more than one crore infections.

The United States registered a record high of 10,83,948 cases on Monday, data from the Johns Hopkins University showed.

As many as 1,57,758 new coronavirus cases were recorded in England and Scotland in the past 24 hours, government data showed on Monday, according to The Guardian. United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the country’s state-run hospitals will face “considerable pressure” in the coming weeks, reported AFP.

“The Omicron variant does seem pretty conclusively to be less severe than Delta or Alpha,” Johnson, however, added. “It is putting fewer people into ICU [intensive care unit].”

In Australia too, hospitals saw in increase in the number of patient admissions amid a record increase in coronavirus cases in the country, reported AP. In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, 23,131 new cases were reported on Tuesday, up from the previous record of 22,577 cases on New Year’s Day. There were 1,344 people in hospitals in New South Wales, 140 more than a day earlier.

To contain the spread of the infection, several countries are imposing stricter restrictions.

China has asked nearly 11,70,000 people living in the Yuzhou city of Henan province to stay in their homes after three asymptomatic Covid-19 cases were reported, according to AFP.

India, meanwhile, on Tuesday reported 37,379 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours – a 10.75% jump from Monday’s count of 33,750 cases, government data showed. With this, the country has recorded 3,49,60,261 cases since the pandemic began in 2020.

Cases of the Omicron variant have increased to 1,892 from Monday’s count of 1,700. Omicron was first reported in the country on December 2 and has now spread to 23 states and Union Territories.

Raman Gangakhedkar, the former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, has warned against taking the strain lightly even as cases of the new variant are likely to be less severe, reported PTI.

Gangakhedkar advised getting vaccinated as the infection will “hunt the unvaccinated, the old and immunodeficient”.

“Instead of waiting for natural immunity [to develop], if we go for induced immunity through the vaccine, it will be good and the damage will be minimal,” he said. “Getting an infection is never good even if it is mild. Today, it [Omicron] may look milder but has anyone thought of long-term effects on the human body.”

Globally, the coronavirus has infected 29,25,60,622 people and resulted in the death of 54,49,495 citizens, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.