Global COVID-19 deaths top 708,000

FILE PHOTO: People travel on an overcrowded train in Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The number of COVID-19-related deaths globally surpassed the 708,000 mark on Thursday as countries continue to report steady rises in infections.

Latest figures from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University showed that the number of infections worldwide was more than 18.8 million.

The U.S. remains the worst-affected country, having registered more than 4.8 million cases and over 158,000 deaths.

The latest figures come as the World Health Organization warned countries against complacency in their fights against the virus.

In a media briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said some countries had started seeing an upsurge in infections after reporting declines.

“Over the past week we’ve seen several countries that appeared as though they were past the worst now contending with fresh spikes in cases,” said Tedros.

The WHO chief noted that the organization was hopeful that a vaccine would be developed soon to boost the fight against the virus.

“A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection,” he said.