PARIS - Over six million people have died worldwide from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to a tally from official sources compiled by Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.
A total of 6,003,081 people have succumbed to the virus, AFP counted at 1100 GMT (7 p.m. Tuesday in Manila).
The milestone comes as the number of infections and deaths continues to plummet in most regions of the world, except in Asia, where Hong Kong is suffering its worst-ever outbreak, and Oceania, where New Zealand has recorded a jump in cases.
Average global daily deaths over the past seven days have fallen to 7,170, down 18 percent in a week, continuing a trend seen since the peak of the Omicron wave in early February despite many countries relaxing restrictions.
The United States has recorded 960,311 deaths from the coronavirus, followed by Brazil on 652,341 and India on 515,210.
While much of the world is learning to live with the disease, China remains committed to stamping it out and has instructed Hong Kong to also pursue a zero-tolerance approach.
Hong Kong has launched controversial plans to test all 7.4 million residents and build a network of isolation camps. The number of weekly infections in the city has doubled in a week to 290,987 while the number of deaths has more than tripled to 1,543.
In regional terms Europe -- which is defined widely by the World Health Organization to include Russia, Israel and countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia -- is currently reporting the largest number of cases.
It also accounted last week for nearly two-fifths of the world's deaths.
Countries reporting the highest death rates in proportion of their population were Hong Kong with 20.58 per 100,000 inhabitants, Latvia (6.42), Georgia (5.89), Denmark (5.13), and Hungary (5.04).
AFP's tally is based on COVID-19 deaths reported by national health authorities.
The World Health Organization believes that the real figure could be two to three times higher.
© Agence France-Presse