Global coronavirus cases have surged past 17million after a rise of one million in the space of just four days.
The hard-hit trio of India, Brazil and the United States are leading the relentless advance with more than 100,000 new cases per day between them.
Brazil and India both set new records today while the South American country is moving ever closer to the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths.
Global daily cases are nearing 300,000 with cases also surging in South Africa and countries such as Spain and Australia facing a second wave of the disease.
Global daily cases are nearing 300,000 with cases also surging in South Africa and countries such as Spain and Australia facing a second wave of the disease
Global coronavirus cases have surged past 17million after a rise of one million in the space of just four days
A woman wearing a mask is transferred from a care home in Melbourne as Australia battles a second spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria
The Johns Hopkins University tally showed a total of 17,039,160 cases on Thursday morning along with 667,218 deaths.
According to the Hopkins figures, the 17million mark was reached last night just four days after the 16million threshold was crossed on June 25.
The previous million cases also took just four days, as the pandemic continues to accelerate around the world.
It was May 20 when the five-million mark was reached, nearly five months after the virus was first detected, but the next five million cases took only 39 more days.
The jump from 10million to 15million took only another 24 days, and the figure has now leaped to 17million in barely a week.
The Hopkins tally recorded nearly 290,000 new cases yesterday, of which India, Brazil and the United States contributed more than half between them.
India today saw more than 50,000 new cases in a day for the first time, bringing the total to nearly 1.6million in a country that has seen nearly 35,000 deaths.
Elsewhere, the Australian state of Victoria saw a record 723 new cases on Thursday despite a second lockdown in Melbourne.
Europe is also bracing for a second wave, with Spain facing new travel restrictions after a sharp increase in cases.
German officials have voiced fears of a second wave after a ‘concerning’ rise in cases, while France has also seen a week-on-week increase in new infections.
‘Clusters are emerging, we have warning signs from certain hospitals that have seen a trend of increasing admission,’ French health minister Olivier Veran said, adding: ‘We are testing a lot more.’
A healthcare worker tends to a patient wearing a mask in the Covid Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas
The EU is due today to update its list of countries approved for travel to the European bloc, which it reviews every two weeks.
The United States was not on the list and is not expected to be included as cases continue to spiral out of control.
States in the South and West are being particularly hard-hit – especially Florida, where more than 6,300 people have died.
The EU’s safe list does include Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The bloc is expected to announce that Algeria is being removed from the list after a resurgence of coronavirus in the North African nation.
At the other end of the continent, South Africa is now frequently recording more than 10,000 cases per day with a total case load of 471,123.
Brazil also wants visitors back, and on Wednesday reopened travel to foreigners arriving by plane, hoping to revive its ravaged tourism industry.
The South American nation last night announced a record 69,074 new cases, taking its total past 2.5million in the largest outbreak after the United States.
The death toll is now above 90,000 after another 1,595 fatalities were added to the tally on Wednesday night.
Brazil closed its air borders to non-residents on March 30, at a time when the virus was just taking hold in South America.
A woman is moved to an ambulance outside the Hospital Regional da Asa Norta-HRAN in Brazil, where deaths from coronavirus are nearing 100,000
As a whole, Latin America’s biggest economy is facing a record contraction of 9.1 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The blizzard of alarming data continued too in east Asia, with China seeing a three-month high of 101 new virus cases on Wednesday because of a localized outbreak in the northern port city of Dalian.
Officials blamed contaminated packaging on imported seafood – similar reasons to the ones that have been offered to explain previous Chinese outbreaks.
Further south, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam warned the financial hub was facing a ‘large-scale community outbreak’ that could lead to a ‘collapse of our hospital system’.
All residents in the densely packed city of 7.5million are under orders to wear masks outdoors and restaurants can only serve takeaway meals, in a blow for diners during the city’s hot and humid summer.
‘It’s so hot outside now, 10 minutes after I start work, my shirt is all sweaty,’ a construction worker said.
While some labour in the heat to make a living, others have been inspired to take action for their communities.
One Indian businessman has converted his office into an 85-bed facility to provide free treatment for the poor.
Kadar Shaikh spent 20 days in a private clinic being treated for the virus last month and was horrified by the bill.
‘How could poor people afford such treatment?’ the property developer told AFP. ‘So I decided to do something and contribute in the fight against the deadly virus.’