GENEVA — The total number of confirmed coronavirus infections has reached over 500 million, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.
Globally, as of Thursday evening, there have been 500.19 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6.19 million deaths reported to WHO, the organization said.
Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus at the end of 2019, most infections have been registered in Europe (209.5 million) and the Americas (151.7 million).
Africa, on the other hand, accounted for only around 2% of the global number of cases.
However, the WHO suspects a huge number of unreported cases on this continent. According to the WHO, up to 97 times more people could have been infected there than the known figure.
Meanwhile wealthier countries have also significantly scaled back testing, making clear figures harder to come by.
So far a total of 11.3 billion vaccines against COVID-19 have been given, according to the latest data.
Even as case numbers fall in many nations, the pandemic is far from over, the WHO said, noting that in poor countries, the most vulnerable people, namely nurses and the elderly, had not been vaccinated.
As long as the virus continues to circulate while many people remain unvaccinated, there is a danger that new variants can develop and spread that current vaccines cannot protect people from.