Global deaths from Covid-19 have surpassed 600,000 as the US, South Africa and Australia struggle to hold down rising rates of the infection.
The United States tops the list with 140,119 deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University, followed by 78,772 in Brazil and 45,358 in the United Kingdom and 38,888 in Mexico, where a surge in cases have frustrated plans to reopen the economy.
The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, of which 3.7 million are in the United States.
There are over 2,000,000 in Brazil and more than a million in India, while experts believe the true numbers around the world are higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues in some nations.
After a one-day respite, Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria rose again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and the nearby shire of Mitchell.
Health officials recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours on Sunday, and two men and a woman in their 90s died, taking the national death toll from coronavirus to 122.
The World Health Organisation on Saturday again reported a single-day record of new infections with 259,848.
South Africa now trails the US, Brazil, and India – all far more populous countries – in the number of infections, surpassing Peru, after health authorities announced 13,285 new cases.
South Africa’s new coronavirus epicentre, Gauteng province, hosts the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria and a quarter of the country’s population of 57 million, with many poor people living in crowded conditions in the middle of a frosty Southern Hemisphere winter.
“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.