Spain reopened its borders to British tourists on Sunday in a bid to kickstart its economy while Brazil and South Africa struggled with rising levels of coronavirus infections.
US President Donald Trump said he told his government to reduce testing for the virus, an apparent attempt to avoid unflattering statistics.
The head of the World Health Organisation has warned that the virus’s global spread is accelerating after a daily high of 150,000 new cases was reported last week.
At a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Mr Trump said he has told his administration to slow down virus testing. He said the US has tested 25 million people but the “bad part” is that it found more cases.
“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please’.”
The outbreak has infected 2.2 million people in the United States, killing nearly 120,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The campaign of Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic rival in November’s presidential election, accused Mr Trump of “putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people”.
As European governments eased more lockdown restrictions, virus case numbers are rising in South Africa, Brazil, the US and other countries.
Brazil’s Health Ministry said on Saturday the total number of cases had risen by more than 50,000 from the previous day.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been downplaying the risks despite nearly 50,000 fatalities in three months, the second-highest death toll in the world after the US.
South Africa reported a one-day high of 4,966 new cases on Saturday and 46 deaths. Despite the increase, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a further loosening of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Casinos, beauty salons and sit-down restaurant service will be allowed to reopen.
In Europe, Germany reported 687 new cases, its highest one-day toll in a month, after earlier managing the outbreak better than other large European nations. Over 1,000 cases have been found at one meatpacking plant alone.
Spain dropped a 14-day quarantine requirement for British visitors effective from Sunday. British travellers make up a large part of Spain’s vital tourism sector, which has been especially hard-hit.
In Asia, China and South Korea reported new coronavirus cases on Sunday in outbreaks that threatened to set back their recoveries.
Chinese authorities reported 25 new confirmed cases — 22 in Beijing and three in neighboring Hebei province.
In South Korea, authorities reported 48 new cases. Half were in the capital, Seoul. Ten were in the central city of Daejong, suggesting the virus was spreading more widely as lockdown measures are relaxed.