Australia yesterday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections and its deadliest day of the epidemic so far following a spike in cases at elderly-care homes.
Days after authorities expressed hope that a Melbourne lockdown now in its third week was bringing persistent outbreaks under control, the surge is a potent warning that initial success in managing coronavirus can quickly unravel.
Fourteen deaths and 723 positive test results were recorded in Victoria State alone, well beyond the previous nationwide high of 549 infections set on Monday.
State Premier Daniel Andrews indicated the leap was, in part, linked to a surge in cases at aged-care homes. Most of those who died were aged in their 70s-90s.
Spikes in infections in Asia have dispelled any notion the region may be over the worst, with Australia, India and Hong Kong reporting record daily cases, Vietnam testing thousands and North Korea urging vigilance.
Asian governments had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the virus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency.
India yesterday saw its biggest jump in daily cases as the total tally of infections reached near the 11.6 million mark yesterday.
A total of 52,123 infections were reported from across the country in the last 24 hours , taking India's total caseload to 15,83,792 while death toll rose by 775 to 34,968, according to the Health Ministry data.This was for the first time that the tally of cases in the 24-hour span breached the 50,000-mark.
In the United States, southern and western regions were grappling yesterday with a renewed surge of infections as the death toll in the world's worst-affected nation passed 150,000.
Brazil is second to the US in terms of cases and fatalities, and also reported a sobering figure as it surpassed 90,000 deaths.
Exactly six months after the World Health Organization declared an international emergency over the deadly pathogen, countries around the globe are seeing rises in infections that are damaging economies and forcing disruptive protection measures.
Despite efforts in place to contain the virus, Covid-19 has killed more than 667,000 people around the world and total infections have passed 17 million, according to an AFP tally.
Global daily cases are now approaching the 300,000 mark, with the curve showing no sign of flattening -- it took just 100 hours for one million new cases to be recorded.
In Hong Kong, where authorities fear a worrying third-wave of infections could cripple the healthcare system, the government reversed a day-old ban on restaurants serving dine-in customers following widespread public anger.
The United States, however, is still battling its first wave, having never taken control of the virus, and on Wednesday alone the country recorded 1,267 new deaths in the past 24 hours and notched more than 68,000 new daily cases.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, fresh from announcing quarantine for travelers returning from Spain, suggested the rest of Europe could be facing a second wave -- despite his own country's dismal figures.