Healthcare workers are pictured at a testing center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Buenos Aires, Argentina Photograph:( Reuters )
The United Nations health agency said the number of new coronavirus infections rose by 5 per cent
The World Health Organization said there were 21 million new coronavirus cases reported globally last week.
This is the highest weekly number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.
"It’s dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last variant and that we are in the end game," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a WHO executive board meeting of the two-year pandemic that has killed nearly 6 million people.
"On the contrary, globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge."
"The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture," he told a news conference.
"We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect."
The United Nations health agency said the number of new coronavirus infections rose by 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of people in England who tested positive for Covid-19 in January previously had the virus or suspected they had it, a large long-running infection survey by Imperial College London revealed.
Earlier this month, the previous highest number of cases, 9.5 million, was recorded amid a 71 per cent spike from the week before, as the hugely contagious omicron variant swept the world.
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,614,118 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has recorded the most Covid deaths with 872,126, followed by Brazil with 623,843 fatalities.
(With inputs from agencies)