World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said that the current rate of coronavirus infections globally was approaching the highest level recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019, Reuters reported.

“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months,” the WHO chief said during a press briefing, according to CNBC. “Around the world, cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates.”

Tedros said that countries like Papua New Guinea that had managed to avoid widespread infection, were now registering a sharp increase in cases.

Several countries in Asia and West Asia, including India, have been reporting a surge in coronavirus cases.

Maria van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, had on Tuesday said that the world needed a “reality check” on the pandemic situation, CNN reported. “This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, where we have proven control measures,” she had said.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 13.88 crore people and killed 29,84,237 since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 7.81 crore people have recovered from the infection.

United States remains the worst-affected country with more than 3.14 crore cases, including over 5.65 lakh deaths.

India, which ranks second in terms of the total number of infections, is in the grip of a second wave of Covid-19. The country set another grim record on Friday as it reported a massive 2,17,353 new infections. The tally of cases since the pandemic began in January 2020 has now reached nearly 1.43 crore. The toll went up to 1,74,308, with 1,185 deaths since Thursday morning.

The states are grappling with shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccine doses. Several patients and their acquaintances have taken to social media to seek assistance to find access to oxygen supplies, remedesivir and hospital beds.