The coronavirus has infected more than seven million people around the world, with almost 30 per cent of cases made up by the United States.
The global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed 400,000, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
In the US, the virus has killed more than 110,000 people, while nationwide protests against racial injustice have sparked fears of an even deadlier second wave.
The virus has also smashed the world economy, with the IMF warning that we are headed towards a “severe recession” in 2020.
The United States has amassed the largest number of cases, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the global total.
The country now has a total of 1,938,931 officially-recorded cases, although the actual number is estimated to be much higher.
It also has the world’s highest death toll at over 110,000, followed by the United Kingdom at over 40,000 and Brazil at over 35,000.
Widespread protests against racial injustice have taken place across much of the country these past two weeks, following the May 25 death of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.
The protests have prompted fears of a second wave of virus infections, as the country was still struggling to contain the first wave.
Europe has recorded more than 175,000 deaths since the virus emerged in China last December.
The United Kingdom has recorded more than 40,000 deaths in that time, with a total of 287,621 cases.
France, Italy and Spain are also among the worst-hit countries in the region, with a combined death toll of over 90,000. Authorities there have acknowledged their death count was larger than the story the numbers told.
Pope Francis broke from his prepared text in an address on Sunday, urging Italians to obey government rules on social distancing and the wearing of masks, as the infection rate there falls.
Belgium has recorded 9595 deaths, with Germany recording 8685, and 6032 in the Netherlands.
Australia has fared well compared to many other Western countries, with 7260 cases and 102 deaths recorded since the pandemic first hit our shores in late January.
Now, Australians may get the green light to gather in groups of more than 100, with health authorities debating lifting restrictions.
However, there are concerns among health authorities following a series of Black Lives Matter rallies held across the country over the weekend.
About 30,000 people were estimated to have gathered in Melbourne and Brisbane, and 20,000 in Sydney, in solidarity with the US protesters and to raise awareness for the number of indigenous deaths in custody in Australia.
Protesters were advised to wear face masks and maintain social distancing where possible to ensure the virus did not spread.
New Zealand has eradicated the coronavirus from its shores after health officials reported Monday that the final person known to have been infected has recovered.
It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand, and Monday also marked the first time since late February that there have been no active cases.
Health officials caution that new cases could be imported into the country, which has closed its borders to everybody but citizens and residents, with some exceptions.
Experts say a number of factors have helped the nation of 5 million wipe out the disease. Its isolated location in the South Pacific gave it vital time to see how outbreaks spread in other countries, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acted decisively by imposing a strict lockdown early in New Zealand’s outbreak.
Just over 1500 people contracted the virus in New Zealand, including 22 who died.
China has officially recorded almost 85,000 cases since the virus first broke out in Wuhan in December, with 4638 deaths.
Over the past month, the country has recorded some days of zero cases around the whole country, and several more days of zero cases in the epicentre of Wuhan.
But experts have long doubted the authenticity of the Chinese government’s figures, saying it may have been botching the numbers for political purposes.
Overnight, Beijing released a report lauding its own success at handling the outbreak of the virus six months ago.
The lengthy report released by Beijing on Sunday said China had “wasted no time” in sharing information with the World Health Organisation and other governments.
Sweden has recorded more than 4500 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began, with the country’s Prime Minister the target of a wave of criticism for his handling of the outbreak.
With a population of 10 million, the country has one of the highest mortality rates in the world – several times higher than any other Scandinavian country.
Sweden adopted a “herd immunity” approach to the virus, and did not enforce strict sweeping lockdowns the way many other countries did.
Like elsewhere, Sweden’s elderly have been the hardest hit.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Some Middle Eastern countries have been experiencing new spikes in coronavirus cases since the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to officially reach the 100,000 threshold for confirmed coronavirus cases.
The kingdom had imposed a strict curfew at the end of Ramadan on May 23, ahead of a three-phase reopening plan that was suspended in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second biggest city, due to an increase in infections.
Since then, Saudi Arabia has experienced a surge in its caseload from 2646 cases to 3121.
The kingdom, however, is not alone as Iraq’s confirmed virus cases jumped from 87 a day to 1252.
In Egypt, the daily new case tally has almost doubled from 783 to 1348 and Iran has experienced a spike from 2311 to 3574 new daily cases as of last Friday.
The situation seems to be at the worst in war-torn Yemen. Yemeni authorities have reported just 486 confirmed coronavirus cases and 113 deaths, but WHO officials believe the actual numbers are much higher.
As other nations in Europe report lower new coronavirus cases, Russia has recorded nearly 9000 new infections over the past day.
The number is roughly in line with those reported over the past week as the spread of the virus may be reaching a plateau in Russia.
According to Russia’s national task force for the pandemic, 8984 new cases were recorded in a day, and 134 people died of the virus. New cases of the virus have hovered around 9000 per day since the middle of May.
Russia has tallied 5859 deaths overall, a number that health experts question as being much too low. Russian authorities claim it’s due to their efficient work at handling the pandemic and method of counting the virus-linked dead that differs from other countries.
Brazil is suffering through a major health crisis.
The country sits at the front of the World Health Organisation’s recent declaration that South America is the “new epicentre” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brazil alone currently has the world’s second-highest number of cases after the United States, with over 670,000 people infected since the pandemic began.
Now, Brazil’s far-right government has been accused of censorship after it stopped releasing its COVID-19 figures, and wiped an official site clean of data.
The country’s controversial leader, Jair Bolsonaro, faces increasing global criticism for his response to the pandemic, and his insistence on prioritising the country’s economy over the health crisis.
He has also been slammed for downplaying the pandemic, having infamously compared it to a “little flu”, and for touting an antimalarial drug as a cure for the virus despite inconclusive scientific evidence.
– With wires