But the official figure probably underestimates the true total, a senior World Health Organization official said on Monday.

“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted Covid-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva.

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid.”

More than one-fifth of the tallied deaths have occurred in the US, the most of any country in the world, followed by more than 142,000 in Brazil and more than 95,000 in India, which is currently recording the most new cases per day.