The number of coronavirus cases in the United States topped 7 million - more than 20% of the world's total - as governments across the globe struggle to contain a surge in coronavirus infections.
The virus has killed at least 984,068 people globally since the outbreak emerged in China last December. At least 32,298,410 cases have been registered worldwide. On Thursday, 5,730 new deaths and 312,068 new cases were recorded worldwide.
After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 139,808 deaths from 4,657,702 cases, India with 92,290 deaths from 5,818,570 cases, Mexico with 75,439 deaths from 715,457 cases, and Britain with 41,902 deaths from 416,363 cases.
With scientists still racing to develop a vaccine, governments are being forced to reimpose crippling lockdown measures that slowed the virus spread earlier this year but sent much of the world economy into a tailspin.
France reported a new record for daily infections on Thursday after the government announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants in major cities.
Figures from Public Health France showed that 16,096 people had tested positive for Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, a record—even though experts advise that testing during the first coronavirus wave in March-April captured only a fraction of cases.
Hundreds of restaurant and bar owners protested in the southern French city of Marseille yesterday against new shutdown orders.
Madrid's regional government expanded the number of areas under partial lockdown yesterday in a move now affecting a million people, but ignored a central government plea for restrictions across the capital.
The city and the surrounding region is at the epicentre of a second wave of coronavirus that is sweeping Spain, which has claimed more than 31,000 lives and infected over 700,000 in the highest infection rate in the European Union.
From Monday, another 167,000 people will be confined to their neighbourhoods and unable to leave except for work, school or medical reasons although they will be able to move freely within their own areas.
Poland yesterday reported a record spike of 1,587 new cases over a 24-hour period, in line with a rise in other parts of eastern Europe where numbers have been relatively low.
In Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said yesterday the government will ease strict coronavirus border restrictions from October to allow more foreign nationals to enter the country.
The country banned entry for most foreigners this year in the wake of the pandemic, but has been negotiating the gradual resumption of cross-border business travel, reports AFP.
Brazil has postponed Rio de Janeiro's famed carnival for next year, the latest spectacle hit by the pandemic.
Rio's carnival, famous for its gyrating Samba dancers, drummers and dancing crowds, draws millions for all night parties in packed streets, making social distancing all but impossible.
It was the first time the carnival had been postponed since 1912, joining a growing list of major entertainment and sporting events disrupted by the pandemic with the virus showing no signs of slowing its track across the globe.
Australia also postponed plans to host a Test cricket match against Afghanistan and a one-day series against New Zealand yesterday, saying the pandemic had made arranging the matches too difficult.
French Open tennis tournament will now allow only 1,000 spectators each day in line with tougher restrictions introduced this week by the French government.
China's Covid-19 vaccine development programme is in a "leading position" and Beijing expects annual production capacity to reach over 610 million doses by the end of the year, officials said yesterday.
Health officials told reporters at a press conference that China expects to be able to produce 610 million vaccine doses annually by the end of this year, and at least one billion doses annually next year.
Eleven Chinese vaccines have now entered clinical trials, with four in Phase Three trials that are "progressing smoothly", said Wu Yuanbin from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Hundreds of thousands of essential workers at ports, hospitals and other high-risk areas have already been given an experimental vaccine since July, officials said, claiming that the programme had also gained the support of the World Health Organization (WHO).