The number of reported coronavirus cases topped 25 million worldwide on Sunday, according to John Hopkins University data, as India registered a record 78,761 new cases in the past 24 hours — the highest single-day spike in the world since the pandemic began.
The world’s second-most populous country exceeded the 77,299 recorded in the United States on July 16, a tally of official data by Reuters showed. With around 3.54 million recorded infections, the nation of around 1.3 billion people is only behind the U.S. and Brazil in the total number of cases and it now has the fastest-growing daily coronavirus caseload of any country in the world.
Globally, the somber milestone of 25,009,250 cases was reached Sunday, according to the John Hopkins data. More than 840,000 people worldwide have died from the virus.
But despite surging case numbers in India, the government has been pushing for a return to normalcy to lessen the economic pain of the pandemic after a strict lockdown imposed in March.
The county will reopen underground train networks, and allow sports and religious events in a limited manner from next month.
Meanwhile in South Korea, which was praised for its early handling of the pandemic, a country-wide lockdown is back on the cards as infections continue to spike.
On Sunday, it reported its 17th consecutive day of triple-digit rises in coronavirus infections, but the 299 new infections recorded was the lowest number of new daily cases seen in four days since the spike of 441 cases on Aug. 27.
To stave off the outbreak, the country has strengthened its social distancing rules until at least Sept. 8, after which the government will re-evaluate to decide whether it needs to ramp up the measures even further.
Health minister Park Neung Hoo said Saturday elevating restrictions to level 3, the highest level of social distancing, would be the country’s “last card” as it would result in “tremendous damage” to the livelihoods of South Koreans.
Jeong Eun Kyung, the head of the country’s centers for disease control, has also warned that failing to curb and control the virus spreading will lead to a “massive scale pandemic” in South Korea.
As the pandemic continues in Europe, France is also dealing with what its health ministry described as “exponential” dynamic of the epidemic’s progression, following a spike on Friday when the country registered its highest number of cases since March.
On Saturday, the ministry reported 5,453 new cases, a significant drop from 7,379 it reported the day before.
The spike came as the world’s greatest cycling race, Tour de France, kicked off in Nice on Saturday.
Under new rules, entire teams can be excluded from the race if two riders from the same outfit test positive within a seven-day period. Fans have also been told not to approach riders for selfies and to always wear masks.
A day earlier, authorities in Paris mandated that face coverings must be worn in all public places in the city.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stella Kim and Nancy Ing contributed.