The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported globally appears to be stabilizing at about 4.5 million infections after steadily rising for the past two months, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said that COVID-19 increased by about 20 percent and 8 percent in the Western Pacific and in the Americas, while rates of disease either remained the same or dropped in other regions.

According to reports, the countries with the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases were the United States, Iran, India, Britain and Brazil.

Also read: India records 37,593 new COVID-19 cases, over 1,200 more than yesterday

On Tuesday, the assessment that was released stated that there were about 68,000 new deaths reported globally, with Europe and the Americas registering increases of about 10 percent.

According to The Associated Press, the WHO also noted several recent studies that show licensed vaccines still provide protection against severe COVID-19 disease, but that there is some evidence to show the shots are less effective at preventing people from becoming infected with the more contagious delta variant.

The earlier research concluded that the COVID-19 vaccines are most useful for preventing hospitalizations and deaths, not virus transmission.

Meanwhile, the protection against the deadly virus offered by two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to fade within six months.

An analysis of data collected in Britain's ZOE COVID study showed that after five to six months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the month after the second dose fell from 88 percent to 74 percent.

The recent analysis of data had suggested that vaccines provide protection for at least six months.

Meanwhile, Britain is planning to start COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign later this year after top vaccine advisers said it might be necessary to give third shots to the elderly and most vulnerable from September.

Earlier, the US officials had announced that double-vaccinated adults aged 18 and older would be offered COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from September, pending data to confirm the safety and efficacy of a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna jab.