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Coronavirus: Global COVID-19 cases pass the 15-million mark

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Commuters, wearing protective face masks and face shields, travel on a public bus in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
Commuters, wearing protective face masks and face shields, travel on a public bus in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, July 22, 2020.   -   Copyright  Rodrigo Abd/AP
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The coronavirus pandemic passed the 15-million case mark on Wednesday, with more than half of them in the United States and Latin America, according to an AFP tally.

The pandemic continues to accelerate, the data showed, and many countries are being forced to step up their prevention measures.

In less than five days, one million new cases have been recorded worldwide.

While in the past week, more than 230,000 cases have been reported daily on average. The number of known infections has doubled since June 11.

At least 15,007,291 total cases were recorded, with 617,603 deaths and 8,351,373 people reported to have recovered from the disease.

The US is the worst-affected country with 3,915,780 total cases, including 142,312 deaths — more than 460,000 new cases were recorded in one week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10% more than the previous week.

Other signs of acceleration outside the US included several countries or territories recording record numbers of cases in recent days, such as Australia, with 502 new cases on Wednesday and a total approaching 13,000

Hong Kong saying it had 113 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday — also a new record.

The number of reported infections reflects only a fraction of the actual number of cases, as many countries are using tests only for tracing purposes or do not have sufficient resources to conduct extensive testing campaigns.

In the US, new coronavirus cases in spring were probably two to 13 times higher than those officially recorded, the CDC said on Tuesday.

Latin America and the Caribbean, the second most-affected region in the world in terms of the number of cases (3,956,997 cases including 167,377 deaths), is still grappling with a rapid progression of the virus.

It has, like the US, recorded more than 460,000 new infections in one week.

In Africa, where the WHO is also concerned about the acceleration of the epidemic, over 15,000 deaths have been reported (15,765 for 753,124 cases).

The Middle East has passed the one million cases mark (1,044,925 infections recorded, including 23,929 deaths).

Europe recorded 2,993,801 cases, including 206,430 deaths.

Oceania remains the least-affected continent (14,523 cases including 157 deaths), but the number of new infections has risen sharply in recent days, with 2,224 cases detected last week compared to 1,481 the previous week — an increase of 50%.