The world has recorded the highest number of new coronavirus infections in a single day since the outbreak began.
On Tuesday morning (Australian time), the World Health Organisation declared the situation globally “is worsening”, with more than 136,000 cases reported in the past 24 hours.
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day yet.
Some countries are celebrating huge gains in the fight against COVID-19. Among them are New Zealand, which has stamped out coronavirus in 102 days.
But Dr Tedros said “most people globally are still susceptible” to infection.
“We continue to urge active surveillance to ensure the virus does not rebound, especially as mass gatherings of all kinds are starting to resume in some countries,” he said.
The latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows the total number of confirmed cases has exceeded 7 million and more than 404,000 infected people have died.
Almost two-thirds of the cases in the past day came from 10 countries, mainly in North and South America, as well as southern Asia.
‘Deepest recession since 1940s’
The US National Bureau of Economic Research has confirmed the US sank into recession in February due to shutdowns in response to the pandemic.
That marked the end of a 128-month expansion that began in June 2009 – the longest since records began in 1854, it said on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the World Bank projected that global economic activity will shrink by 5.2 per cent in 2020.
That will cause the deepest recession since a 13.8 per cent global contraction in 1945-46 at the end of World War II, according to its updated Global Economic Prospects report.
“Should COVID-19 outbreaks persist, should restrictions on movement be extended or reintroduced, or should disruptions to economic activity be prolonged, the recession could be deeper,” the report said.
The 5.2 per cent downturn in 2020 will be the fourth worst global downturn in the past 150 years, exceeded only by the Great Depression of the 1930s and the periods after both world wars.
The amount of income per person is expected to fall sharply, with per capita incomes declining in more than 90 per cent of emerging markets and developing countries.
For all countries, the drop in per capital incomes is expected to average 6.2 per cent, much larger than the 2.9 per cent fall during the 2009 financial recession.
Reflecting this downward pressure on incomes, World Bank economists said they expected the number of people in extreme poverty could grow by between 70 million and 100 million this year.