Warning of a difficult period ahead, the World Health Organization on Monday said that one in 10 people around the world may have contracted Covid-19.
A top official said the estimate meant "the vast majority of the world remains at risk", reports the BBC.
The estimate that 10 percent of the world's population has contracted the virus came from Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.
Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking to a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on Covid-19, said the figures vary from urban to rural areas, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk,” reports AP.
He said the pandemic would continue to evolve, but that tools exist to suppress transmission and save lives.
Ryan said southeast Asia faced a surge in cases, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean were seeing an increase, while the situations in Africa and the Western Pacific were “rather more positive.” Overall, though, he said the world was “heading into a difficult period."
"The disease continues to spread. It is on the rise in many parts of the world,” Ryan told attendees from governments who make up the executive board and provide much of the WHO's funding.
Just over 35m people have been confirmed as being infected with coronavirus - the WHO's estimate puts the true figure at closer to 800m.
Experts have long said the real number of cases would exceed those confirmed.
The WHO is meeting at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the global response to the pandemic.
Calling for solidarity and firm leadership from countries, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been marked differences in the number of cases around the world.
"Although all countries have been affected by this virus, we must remember that this is an uneven pandemic. Ten countries account for 70 percent of all reported cases and deaths and just three countries account for half," he said.
More than one million people have died from the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. After the US, India and Brazil have seen the most infections.