Global coronavirus infections top 30 million: Latest update from around the world
The worst hit nations are the US, India and Brazil, but there is a renewed spike in infections across Europe. Surging coronavirus figures on the continent should serve as "a wake-up call", the WHO's regional director for Europe said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the globe has surpassed 30 million, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing. More than 944,000 people have died since the outbreak began in China late last year. The worst hit nations are the US, India and Brazil, but there is a renewed spike in infections across Europe.
India is firmly in focus as the latest epicentre, although North and South America combined still account for almost half of the global cases. India this week became only the second country in the world, after the US, to record more than 5 million cases. On Thursday, it reported another record daily rise in cases of almost 98,000.
The world's second most populous country, has been reporting more new daily cases than the US since mid-August and accounts for just over 16% of global known cases.
The US remains by far the worst hit in terms of numbers, with more than 6.6 million confirmed infections, and over 197,000 deaths. The country has about 20% of all global cases, although it has just 4% of the world's population.
Brazil has had more than 4.4 million confirmed cases, with more than 134,000 fatalities -- the second-highest death toll after the US. It accounts for roughly 15% of global cases. This comes as the international race to develop and market a vaccine heats up.
The official number of global coronavirus cases is now more than five times the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.
Around the world, there have been almost 1 million deaths, considered a lagging indicator given the two-week incubation period of the virus. That has well exceeded the upper range of 290,000 to 650,000 annual deaths linked to influenza.
It took 18 days for global cases to surge from 25 million to more than 30 million. It took 20 days for the world to go from 20 million to 25 million and 19 days to go from 15 million to 20 million. The global rate of new daily cases is slowing, reflecting progress in constraining the disease in many countries, despite a few big surges.
WHO WARNS OF 'SERIOUS COVID-19 SITUATION' IN EUROPE
The WHO has warned that coronavirus cases are surging alarmingly in Europe, as a "very serious situation" unfolds across the continent. Surging coronavirus figures on the continent should serve as "a wake-up call", the agency's regional director Hans Kluge earlier this week.
Speaking in Copenhagen on Thursday, Kluge said in the past two weeks the number of new cases had doubled in more than half of European member states. He said that 300,000 new infections were reported across Europe last week alone and weekly cases had exceeded those reported during the first peak in March.
According to the WHO, there have been five million confirmed cases and more than 228,000 fatalities across Europe since the pandemic began. While there was an increase in cases in older age groups, those aged 50 to 79, in the first week of September, Kluge said, the biggest proportion of new cases is still among 25- to 49-year-olds.
Countries across the continent have been easing lockdowns and reopening their economies, but governments are now scrambling to avert further outbreaks.
In France, COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen in recent days in large cities such as Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille. The country registered 10,593 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, setting a new daily record and pushing the cumulative number to 415,481, the French Health Ministry reported on Thursday.
Cases in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy have also increased.
New restrictions were imposed across England this week barring people from meeting socially in groups of more than six, of all ages, indoors or outdoors. Scotland and Wales have also tightened their social distancing rules.
Spain has now recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the start of the outbreak, with more than 600,000 total cases.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,916 to 267,773, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,378, the tally showed.
Countries including Greece and Croatia, largely spared by the first wave, saw fast case number rises in August as tourists took summer vacations following the reopening of Europe's internal borders in June.
Australia on Thursday reported its lowest single-day case rise since June as strict lockdown measures in its second largest city of Melbourne, the centre of the country's second wave, appeared to pay off.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH COVID-19 VACCINE?
The race to develop and bring to market a novel coronavirus vaccine has grown increasingly frenetic in recent weeks with about 200 candidates in development globally.
US President Donald Trump has said his country could have a vaccine ready for distribution before the country's presidential election on November 3, while a Chinese health official this week said China may have a vaccine ready for public use as early as November.
While the trajectory of the coronavirus still falls far short of the 1918 Spanish flu, which infected an estimated 500 million people, killing at least 10% of them, experts worry the available data is underplaying the true impact of the pandemic.