COVID-19 infections in Tokyo rose to the highest level since January, as Japan's capital readies for the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday.
Meanwhile, supermarkets in Britain are struggling to ensure stable food and fuel supplies after an official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate after contact with someone positive with the virus.
Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world.
Britain's supermarkets, wholesalers and hauliers were struggling on Thursday (local time) to ensure stable food and fuel supplies after an official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate after contact with someone with COVID-19.
Coronavirus cases in Britain have been broadly rising for a month, with more than 44,000 recorded on Wednesday.
In Ireland, the more transmissible Delta variant is leading to a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, with the 14-day incidence rate up to 246 per 100,000 people from 93 a month ago.
Ireland has reported 287,951 COVID-19 cases among its 4.9 million population, with 5,026 related deaths.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday the rise in coronavirus cases was worrying and she urged people to get vaccinated.
Germany plans to declare Spain and the Netherlands COVID-19 high-risk areas, meaning that incoming travellers who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine, the Funke group of newspapers reported on Thursday.
Daily coronavirus infections in Tokyo rose to 1,979 cases on Thursday, the city said, the highest level since January, as Japan’s capital readied for the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday.
The rate was 671 more cases than the Thursday last week.
South Korea on Thursday reported another daily record of 1,842 coronavirus cases, as it struggles to tame its worst-ever wave of outbreaks amid rising infections nationwide fuelled by the more contagious Delta variant.
The latest numbers include at least 270 sailors on an anti-piracy navy destroyer patrolling the waters off Africa who were flown home on Tuesday after being infected.
Authorities are considering expanding the restrictions imposed for the capital Seoul and neighbouring areas last week, as small clusters continue to emerge nationwide.
The World Health Organization on Thursday urged Indonesia to implement a stricter and wider lockdown to combat surging infections and deaths, just days after the country’s president flagged the easing of restrictions.
Indonesia has become one of the epicentres of the pandemic in recent weeks, with positive cases leaping fivefold in the past five weeks. This week, daily deaths hit record highs over 1,400, among the highest tolls in the world.
In its latest situation report, the WHO said strict implementation of public health and social restrictions were crucial and called for additional “urgent action” to address sharp rises in infections in 13 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.
China rejected on Thursday a World Health Organization plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, a top health official said.
The WHO this month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities.
China’s capital Beijing has fully vaccinated nearly 91percent of its adult residents against COVID-19, data from the municipal government showed, as the country expands its nationwide vaccination efforts.
India reported on Thursday 41,383 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths rose by 507, health ministry data showed.
The country's tally of infections now stands at 31.26 million, with the death toll at 418,987, according to government data.
Australia’s prime minister apologised for a sluggish vaccination programme on Thursday, while the country’s most populous state reported its biggest one-day spike in infections in 16 months and warned cases would likely rise further.
Australia was widely lauded for containing the pandemic in 2020, but it has struggled this year to slow the spread of the Delta variant even with more than half its 25 million population under a weeks-long lockdown.
The curbs, which Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said was costing the economy about A$300 million (NZ$317 million) daily, and the likelihood that they will stay in place with less than 15 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated have stoked public anger.
Mexico on Wednesday reported its biggest jump in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since January, with 15,198 registered infections and 397 additional deaths, bringing its total to 2,693,495 infections and 237,207 fatalities, according to health ministry data.
The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll could be 60 percent more than the official count.
Brazil registered 54,517 new coronavirus cases and 1,424 additional COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
Africa and the Middle East
South Africa aims to have given at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 35 million of its 60 million people by Christmas, a senior health official said on Wednesday.
The country is the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic on the African continent in terms of recorded infections and deaths, and is experiencing a "third wave" of infections.