The number of new coronavirus cases reported globally appears to be stabilising at about 4.5 million infections after steadily rising for the past two months, the World Health Organisation says.
In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said COVID-19 increased by about 20 per cent in the Western Pacific and 8 per cent in the Americas, while rates of disease either remained the same or dropped in other regions.
The countries with the highest numbers of new cases were the United States, Iran, India, Britain and Brazil.
The assessment released on Tuesday said there were about 68,000 new deaths reported globally, with Europe and the Americas registering increases of about 10 per cent.
The WHO also noted several recent studies that show licensed vaccines still provide protection against severe coronavirus disease, but that there is some evidence to show the shots are less effective at preventing people from becoming infected with the more contagious Delta variant.
Previous research concluded the vaccines are most useful for preventing hospital admissions and deaths, not virus transmission.