The World Health Organization said the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths have increased again around the world despite efforts to control the virus's spread. The report published Thursday has been seen as a major setback, which has dampened hopes for a quick return to normalcy.

The report said that deaths climbed during the first week of July after nine straight weeks of decline. The organization said it had recorded more than 55,000 new deaths - a 3% increase from the week before.

According to the report, new cases reported worldwide surged by more than 10% during the period, with the most cases recorded in Brazil, Indonesia, India and the UK.

The organization said that the latest surge in infections and deaths can be attributed to the slowing vaccination rates worldwide. The agency said the premature relaxation of pandemic rules such as mask-wearing and social distancing may have also contributed to the sudden rise.

Experts at Georgia State University said the combination of factors could be a "recipe for a potential tinderbox," which could explode into more outbreaks.

The organization said the rapid spread of the new and more contagious delta variant has made it difficult for governments to control the spread of the disease. The organization said the delta variant has now spread across 111 countries. The delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain in the coming months, the agency said.

The organization acknowledged that most countries are facing "considerable pressure" from the public and companies to lift restrictions. The agency said governments to carefully consider their actions as failing to act correctly could give the virus more opportunities to spread.

The report said Argentina had experienced the most deaths, with figures surpassing 100,000. Daily deaths in Russia also hit record highs this week. The organization said infection rates in Belgium - driven by the delta variant - have almost doubled over the past week. In the UK, the daily infection rates increased to more than 40,000 for the first time in six months.

The organization said crematoriums in Myanmar and Indonesia are no longer able to keep up with the death toll. The report said deaths in Indonesia reached nearly 1,000 and more than 54,000 new cases were recorded Wednesday.