June 22, 2020 / 2:48 PM / 21 days ago

Global coronavirus cases top 9 million as outbreak surges in Brazil, India

(Reuters) - Global cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 9 million on Monday, as Brazil and India grappled with a surge in infections, and the United States, China and other hard-hit countries reported new outbreaks, according to a Reuters tally.

FILE PHOTO: A man reacts as a medical worker takes a mouth sample for coronavirus during a community testing, as authorities race to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

The first case was reported in China in early January and it took until mid-May to reach 4.5 million cases. It has taken just five weeks to double to 9 million cases, the tally shows.

The United States leads the world with the highest number of infections, at about 2.2 million or 25% of all reported cases.

The tally shows the disease is spreading fastest in Latin America, which now accounts for 23% of all cases.

Brazil has the second most cases behind the United States, and India is on track to overtake Russia as the third most affected country by cases.

The number of global infections continues to rise at a rate of around 1%-2% a day since the beginning of June, even as many countries are taking steps to ease lockdown measures.

On Friday, global cases rose by a record 176,000 in a day, according to the tally, when Brazil reported over 54,000 cases in a single day, the most of any country throughout the pandemic.

Global deaths stand at over 464,000 and have doubled in seven weeks.

The crisis is deepening in Brazil where the death toll is over 50,000, widespread testing is absent, and the country is still without a permanent health minister.

In the United States, which has about 120,000 deaths, cases are rising again after declining for more than a month and wearing a mask is not mandatory in most states.

China is also trying to contain a fresh outbreak in Beijing, where it asserts it has a capacity to test over 1 million people a day in the city alone.

On its best day, the United States tested over 594,000 people nationwide but often tests fewer than half a million a day.

Even in Germany, a country seen as successful in curbing the virus and limiting deaths, infection rates are rising above the level needed for long-term containment. Australia is also battling a spike in cases in Victoria where other states have seen few, if any, new cases in weeks.

Still there are bright spots such as Spain reopening its borders, death rates plunging in the former hot spot of Italy, and Greece welcoming a return of foreign tourists.

Just under half of all reported cases have recovered, though the number is likely higher as some countries do not report the statistic.

Writing by Lisa Shumaker and Cate Cadell; Editing by Howard Goller

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