The number of coronavirus cases recorded worldwide topped 18 million on Monday with the pandemic continuing to spread.
Six months after the World Health Organisation declared a global emergency, the virus has killed more than 688,000 people since it first emerged in China late last year.
Fresh clusters have been reported in countries that had previously brought their outbreaks under control – such as Australia – forcing governments to reimpose lockdown measures despite worries over further economic fallout.
Some parts of the world are struggling with large outbreaks.
Health authorities in South Africa reported that infections exceeded the half-million mark.
Latin America and the Caribbean passed another milestone on Sunday as fatalities in the region climbed to more than 200,000.
Iran – battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak – reported its highest single-day infection count in nearly a month.
With infections and deaths soaring, the UN health agency said the pandemic was likely to be protracted and warned of possible “response fatigue”.
“WHO continues to assess the global risk level of Covid-19 to be very high,” the agency said, adding that the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come”.
Follow the latest coronavirus updates below.
Cluster traced to pub as cases in Scotland hit two-month high
A coronavirus outbreak in Aberdeen has been linked to a pub in the city, as Scotland recorded its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases in almost two months.
NHS Grampian said it launched an investigation after it identified 13 Covid-19 cases associated with The Hawthorn bar in the city centre, with some customers who visited on Sunday, July 26, testing positive.
The cluster was confirmed days after Nicola Sturgeon said she was concerned that a large proportion of new cases were in people aged 20 to 39, which experts believe could be linked to the reopening of bars and restaurants.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that 31 new cases north of the border had been identified on Sunday, the highest daily tally since June 4.
People returning to work urged to support pets during transition
Half of adults are worried about leaving their pets at home if they go back to work, new research suggests.
As more offices re-open this week after months of lockdown, a study by the Co-op Insurance revealed how many people had grown closer to their pets.
Two fifths of 2,000 people surveyed said they had spent more time with their pets recently than ever before; often being with them all day.
Read the full story here.
Philippines President orders virus lockdown in Manila
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is reimposing a moderate lockdown in the capital and outlying provinces after medical groups appealed for the move as coronavirus infections surge alarmingly.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday that metropolitan Manila, the capital region of more than 12 million people, and five densely populated provinces would revert to stricter quarantine restrictions for two weeks starting on Tuesday.
Mass public transport will be barred and only essential travel will be allowed.
Leaders of nearly 100 medical organisations held a rare online news conference on Saturday and warned that the health system had been overwhelmed by infection spikes and might collapse as health workers fall ill or resign from exhaustion and fear.
They asked Mr Duterte to reimpose a tight lockdown in the capital to allow health workers “a time out” and for the government to recalibrate its response to the pandemic.
The number of cases in the Philippines surged past 103,000 on Sunday and is second in Southeast Asia.
Latin America heads towards five million cases
Argentina broke past 200,000 Covid-19 cases on Sunday and Colombia set a daily record as grim milestones topple in Latin America, pushing the world’s worst-affected region towards a combined five million cases.
The region, which topped 200,000 deaths on Saturday, has struggled to stall the spread of the virus, with infections picking up pace.
Latin America, which has about eight per cent of the world’s population, accounts for nearly 30 per cent of global cases and fatalities, with infections still spreading fast and hitting regional leaders.
Colombia has passed 300,000 cases and 10,000 fatalities.
Argentina, which had early success slowing the spread of the virus, has seen a recent spike in infections.
Brazil, the worst-hit country in the region and the second-worst worldwide, has more than 2.73 million cases and about 94,000 deaths.
Mexico logged more than 9,000 new infections on Saturday and is now the country with the third-most deaths worldwide.
Peru, which recently exceeded 400,000 cases, has seen a dangerous resurgence in infections after relaxing quarantine restrictions in a bid to revive a collapsed economy. It posted 7,448 cases on Saturday, the highest since late May.
Lockdown in north of England a ‘rash decision’ not backed up by data
Imposing a widespread regional lockdown in the north west was a “rash” decision that is not backed up by the data, an Oxford professor has claimed.
People in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire were banned from meeting different households indoors, in a move that Matt Hancock, the health secretary said was absolutely necessary.
But Professor Carl Henegehan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford, said the figures were skewed by delayed test results and, when plotted by the date the test was taken, showed no overall alarming rise.
“The northern lockdown was a rash decision,” he said.
Read the full story here.
Supermarket workers facing torrent of ‘mask rage’
Supermarket workers are facing a worrying rise of “mask rage” with The Co-op reporting that staff had suffered historic levels of abuse since the new regulations were enacted.
The retailer said it recorded 990 incidents of anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse between Monday, July 20, and Sunday, July 26 – two days after masks were made compulsory in shops.
Almost all confrontations were related to the wearing of face masks with “flashpoints” occurring when people were asked to follow the guidance and when young consumers were asked to remove masks to check ID when buying alcohol.
Read the full story here.
Whole cities and towns to be tested in case of local Covid outbreak
Entire cities will be tested for Covid to contain local outbreaks using on-the-spot tests that give results in just 90 minutes.
Starting next week, the tests will be routinely used to check hospital and care home staff and patients, but there are plans for more than a million tests a day by the time winter arrives.
Ministers believe the revolutionary new tests, which can be processed by portable machines, will see off the danger of another national lockdown by enabling them to test everyone living in towns or cities where there is an outbreak, swiftly isolating those who have the virus.
Read the full story by The Telegraph’s Political Editor, Gordon Rayner.