Australia

The number of coronavirus deaths in Latin America have now surpassed the United States

Health workers test Indigenous Brazilians for coronavirus. Source: AP

Latin America has overtaken the United States to become the world's second hardest-hit region for coronavirus deaths.

Latin America has surged past the US and Canada to become the world's second worst-hit region for virus deaths on Monday as a Spanish court blocked a move to lock down some 200,000 people.

South Africa meanwhile reimposed a nationwide curfew to prevent a "coronavirus storm" from ravaging the continent's hardest-hit nation.

Since the start of July, nearly 2.5 million new infections have been detected across the globe, with the number of cases doubling over the past six weeks.

And with cases surging in Latin America, the continent on Monday officially declared a total of 144,758 deaths, passing the 144,023 recorded in the United States and Canada.

It now stands second only to Europe, where 202,505 people have died.

Although life in parts of Europe has been returning to some semblance of normality, authorities across the continent are worriedly watching dozens of areas where cases have resurged. 

Concerned by a spike in the town of Lerida in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, officials on Sunday ordered nearly 200,000 residents to stay home in the first such order since the country's lockdown ended on 21 June. 

But early on Monday, a local court suspended the measure as "contrary to law" despite concerns over the scale of the outbreak - one of scores being monitored across badly-hit Spain, where the virus has killed more than 28,400 people.

Fears of a second wave also forced South Africa to re-impose a nationwide curfew on Sunday, with President Cyril Ramaphosa warning the country faced a "coronavirus storm" that was "far fiercer and more destructive" than any before. 

With new infections topping 12,000 per day - or 500 per hour - South Africa has reimposed a night curfew as well as a ban on alcohol sales that was lifted barely six weeks ago.

The Philippines also moved to reimpose a two-week lockdown on some 250,000 people in Manila as new infections soared just six weeks after the capital emerged from one of the world's longest lockdowns.

Spike in US bases in Japan

Meanwhile, in Japan, two United States Marine bases on Okinawa island have been locked down after a spike in cases with dozens infected and local officials expressing "serious doubts" about the military's containment efforts. 

Other restrictions were imposed on seven other Marine bases on the southern Japanese island where tens of thousands of US servicemen are stationed and where nearly 100 new cases have been detected in recent days. 

The move came after a weekend in which US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time, as he visited veterans at a hospital near Washington.

The worst-hit country in the world, the US has suffered 135,171 deaths and 3,301,820 cases, with surveys showing Americans are unhappy with how Mr Trump has handled the crisis.

Across the planet, the pandemic has infected nearly 13 million people, killed over 566,000 and triggered massive economic damage in the seven months since it was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

In Latin America, Brazil accounts for almost half of the continent's recorded fatalities.

Mexico has become the country with the fourth-highest number of COVID-19 fatalities in the world, climbing to a total of 35,006 deaths and surpassing Italy.

And Sri Lanka ordered government schools across the nation to shut Monday - just a week after they reopened - following a surge in new cases.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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