A record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases was reported yesterday as almost 260,000 people tested positive for the virus in 24 hours.
On Saturday, the World Health Organisation reported 71,484 new cases in the US, 45,403 in Brazil, 34,884 in India and 13,373 in South Africa.
It comes as the global death toll reached 601,549, with the largest daily increase since May 10 reported on Saturday when 7,360 patients died.
However, experts believe true numbers around the world are much higher due to testing shortages and data collection issues in some nations.
The previous World Health Organisation record for new cases was 237,743 on Friday.
Medics tend to a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital in New Delhi, India
A woman in a face shield talks on the phone as people walk at a popular shopping street amid the outbreak of coronavirus in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Covid-19 has been detected in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China last December, the Sun reported.
The US has reported the most coronavirus deaths, with 140,119 confirmed amid 3.7 million cases.
Infections are soaring in Florida, Texas and Arizona, fuelled by the haphazard lifting of lockdowns and the resistance of some US citizens to wearing masks.
Teams of military medics have been deployed in Texas and California to help hospitals deal with a deluge of patients who are flooding emergency rooms.
There are currently more than two million cases of Covid-19 in Brazil, which has the second worst death toll at 78,772, and around one million infections in India.
South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic, with its 350,879 cases making up roughly half of all those confirmed across the continent.
Its epicentre is the Gauteng province, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, where around a quarter of the country’s 57 million citizens reside.
On Saturday, the World Health Organisation reported 71,484 new cases in the US, 45,403 in Brazil, 34,884 in India and 13,373 in South Africa. Pictured: Mumbai today
There are currently more than two million cases in Brazil, which has the second worst death toll at 78,772, and around one million infections in India. Pictured: Rio de Janeiro on July 15
‘The simple fact is that many South Africans are sitting ducks because they cannot comply with World Health Organisation protocols on improved hygiene and social distancing,’ the foundation of former South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah warned in a statement.
In Britain, which has the tenth highest number of infections, some 294,066 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 45,273 have died.
China yesterday confirmed 16 new cases in the northwestern city of Urumqi, amid the latest outbreak of the virus since it was largely contained in late March.
At least 30 people have been infected and authorities are conducting universal testing in communities where cases were discovered, later to be expanded to other parts of the city and major businesses.
People get their details recorded before giving their swabs for rapid antigen tests, amid the coronavirus outbreak, at a check-up point in Ahmedabad, India
A crew of a private ambulance service in Port Elizabeth wear personal protective equipment
South Korean authorities are also struggling to suppress a surge in infections, with 34 additional cases – 21 of them domestic and 13 from overseas – raising the country’s total to 13,745 with 295 deaths.
Both South Korea and China are mandating testing and enforcing two-week quarantines on all overseas arrivals.
After a one-day respite, Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria rose again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in Melbourne and Mitchell.
Health officials today recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours. Two men and a woman in their nineties died, taking the national death toll from Covid-19 to 122.