Al Jazeera reports that the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating worldwide, with new cases soaring last week to a new seven-day high of almost 2 million even as new deaths decreased, World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show.
In its latest global update late on Monday, the UN health body said 1 998 897 new cases of the novel coronavirus had been registered around the world during the week ending on 20 September.
That marked a 6% increase from the week before and "the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic," the WHO said.
Since the novel coronavirus first surfaced in China late last year, it has infected more than 31 million people globally, while nearly 965 000 have died, according to the latest figures released on Tuesday.
Nearly all regions of the world saw new cases rise last week, WHO said, with Europe and the Americas seeing new cases swell by 11% and 10% respectively.
In countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain, restrictions were announced this week in fears of another outbreak as cases surged back to levels seen earlier in the year.
The United States continued to have the highest number of cases in the world, with more than 6.8 million infections, followed by India and Brazil.
Only Africa, which has remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic, dodged the upward trend, reporting a 12-percent drop in new cases from a week earlier.
Even as cases shot up across much of the world, the number of deaths is going down, the WHO statistics showed.
Last week, some 37 700 new deaths linked to the virus were recorded worldwide, marking a decline of 10% compared with the previous week.
Covid-19 'firepower': Britain imposes 6-month curbs against second wave
Reuters reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people on Tuesday to work from home where possible and ordered bars and restaurants to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19 with restrictions lasting probably six months.
After government scientists cautioned that deaths may soar without urgent action, Johnson stopped short of another full lockdown as he did in March, but said further action could be taken if the disease was not suppressed.
"We reserve the right to deploy greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions," he told parliament following emergency meetings with ministers and leaders of the United Kingdom's devolved governments.
Just weeks after urging people to start returning to workplaces, Johnson advised office workers to stay at home if they could. He ordered all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality sites to close at 22:00 from Thursday with only table service allowed.
Sweden says Stockholm measures possible as Covid-19 cases rise
Reuters reports that Sweden, which so far has decided against lockdowns as a means to contain Covid-19, is seeing early signs that the number of coronavirus cases are rising again and could impose new measures in the capital, its chief health officials said on Tuesday.
Sweden's strategy emphasising personal responsibility rather than major lockdowns to slow the virus drew fierce criticism as deaths shot up during the spring, but has also been lauded by WHO officials as a sustainable model.
Infections dropped significantly in the summer and so far Sweden had been spared the type of sharp increases in new cases seen in Spain, France and Britain in the past month.
However, around 1 200 new cases and five deaths have been reported since Friday compared to around 200 cases per day in the last weeks. The increase in new cases cannot solely be explained by increased testing, the Public Health Agency said on Tuesday.
"The rolling average has increased somewhat," Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist who devised its pandemic strategy, told a news conference.
Jordan reports its highest number of Covid-19 cases in a single day
Reuters reports that Jordan reported 634 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily count since the start of the pandemic in March, and health officials warned the novel coronavirus was spreading fast across the country.
"This huge rise proves that personal measures from social distancing and wearing masks are crucial to protect our people," Health Minister Saad Jaber said in a statement.
The kingdom has reported a total of 5 679 Covid-19 cases and 33 deaths form the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
Infections have quadrupled over the last month as the coronavirus resurfaced in a second wave that pushed the authorities to reintroduce new restrictions on the country's 10 million inhabitants.
The government closed schools last Thursday for two weeks, shortly after 2 million students went back following a five-month halt after dozens of cases surfaced among students and teachers.
Snooker champ O'Sullivan handed bye after opponent tests positive for COVID-19
Reuters reports that World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was handed a bye to the second round of the European Masters on Tuesday after Welsh opponent Daniel Wells tested positive for Covid-19.
Wells was one of five withdrawals from the Milton Keynes tournament, with Gary Wilson also testing positive while Michael White, Elliot Slesser and David Lilley must self-isolate after coming into contact with the pair, organisers said.
Wells and Wilson were tested on arrival on Monday and received the results on Tuesday.