PARIS: The total number of Covid-19 registered worldwide since the start of the pandemic topped 300 million on Friday, according to an AFP count based on official figures.
The figure stood at 300,042,439 cases at 15:45 GMT, including all the cases announced since the World Health Organization office in China first reported the outbreak of the disease in late December 2019.
Case numbers have been on the rise since late last year due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant, first identified in Botswana and South Africa.
As Omicron brings the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, many countries are reporting record numbers of infections.
Over 13.5 million virus cases have been detected worldwide in the past week, a massive rise of 64 percent over the previous seven days, averaging out at 1,938,395 new infections per day.
A total of 34 countries have seen record weekly cases numbers. Eighteen of those are in Europe, seven in Africa and six in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The US and Canada have also seen record numbers, as has Australia.
Europe has been particularly badly hit by the new variant with Cyprus registering 3,468 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days while the rate for Ireland is 2,840. In Greece the rate is 2,415 while the figure for Denmark is 2,362 and France 2,137.
In 12th place on the recent incidence list is Australia, with 1,361 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.
However the acceleration of the Covid spread has not, so far, translated into increased mortality figures.
In fact the daily global average of deaths over the past seven days, 6,172, is a three percent dip on the previous week.
A month after it was first detected in southern Africa, Omicron is now known to be far more contagious than previous variants of Covid-19 but appears to cause a less severe illness than its predecessors.
The figures collated by AFP are based on daily reports from national health authorities.
A significant proportion of the less severe or asymptomatic cases remain undetected despite intensified screening in many countries. In addition, testing policies differ from country to country.