The number of novel coronavirus cases worldwide reached 1,601,018 on Friday, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University. 

According to the figures, since the emergence of the virus in Wuhan, China last December, more than 95,700 people have died while about 355,000 have fully recovered.

The US remains the country with the highest number of infections at 465,750, but Italy has the highest death toll at 18,279.

The virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins.

The coronavirus primarily attacks the lungs and respiratory system. Most people who become infected exhibit moderate symptoms, but it can be especially fatal for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

Several efforts are being made to develop a vaccine, but most experts believe the milestone will not be crossed for at least another year and possibly up to 18 months.