World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday he expected the number of novel coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, to reach 10 million next week.

Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked, and that it was “still intense”, especially in Central and South America.

Britain’s coronavirus testing programme could help to give a picture of how the virus spread of the virus in the country, Ryan said, adding that many countries including Britain had “fought hard” and were making a “steady” exit from lockdown.