Coronavirus: World Health Organisation reports record increase in new COVID-19 cases in 24-hour period

The World Health Organisation has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 183,020 in a 24-hour period.

The biggest rise – almost two thirds of the new infections – was seen in North and South America with around 116,041 new cases, according to the body’s daily report on Sunday.

The second-highest spike was recorded in South East Asia (20,248), then the Eastern Mediterranean (18,975), Europe (17,922), Africa (8,464) and Western Pacific (1,370).

The previous record for new COVID-19 cases in a single day was 181,232 on 18 June.

There were 54,771 new cases in Brazil (1,206 deaths), followed by the United States with 36,617 (690 deaths) and India with more than 15,400 infections (306 deaths), the UN health agency said.

Indian authorities said this was in part due to a backlog in data from Delhi and Mumbai, while officials in Brazil said the significant increase was also partly down to a lag in reporting from three states (Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo), compounding data from two days.

It comes as European Union officials hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang via video conferences.

Nearly nine million people have been infected and more than 468,000 people have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University which has been tracking the coronavirus outbreak.

Experts have said the actual numbers are much higher than what has been counted by governments across the world, given the limits to testing, the presumed large share of asymptomatic cases as well as unreported cases.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday the last one million cases were reported in just eight days.

He also warned against the “politicisation” of the pandemic: “The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership. We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world.”

In the US, experts say a spike in infections there is not a so-called second wave but a continuation of the first wave.

New cases are falling in some parts of the country, while rising mainly in the the south, west and midwest, swamping hospitals in some areas.

“When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?” said Dr Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health. “We’re in the first wave. Let’s get out of the first wave before you have a second wave.”

In New Zealand – one of the first countries in the world to return to near pre-pandemic normality – there are nine new cases after it had none at all for three weeks earlier this month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had warned cases could appear as New Zealanders return home from abroad.

It comes after New Zealand lifted all social and economic restrictions last week, except border controls – which have now been strengthened in the wake of the new cases, some of which have been linked to arrivals from the UK, India and Pakistan.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and China reported signs of progress – after both seeing a resurgence of the virus in recent weeks, prompting fresh lockdowns, school closures and travel bans.

South Korea reported 17 new cases, the first time its daily increase fell to under 20 in nearly a month, while in Beijing the increase was in single digits for the first time in eight days. It reported nine cases.

And in Germany, the R number – which refers to the reproductive rate of the disease – has leapt again from 1.79 on Saturday to 2.88 on Sunday, official figures show.

In order to contain the illness, a figure of less than one is required.

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