Dec. 6 (UPI) -- With Europe in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus cases and deaths, the continent has the greatest per capita of infections and fatalities despite strong restrictions, including lockdowns.
Cases worldwide are increasing 1 million every two days and onSunday reached 67,377,463 with 1,541,373 deaths, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. But with 424,087 fatalities and 18,440,400 infections in Europe, the percentage is 27% each compared with a population of 9.6%.
On Saturday, Europe's share was 40.7% of the 4,144 new deaths and 10,186 total, and 30.5% of the 191,292 new cases and 626,385 total. On Sunday, 7,537 deaths and 535,018 cases were reported worldwide.
The records were Friday with 12,834 deaths and 688,333 cases.
Europe has the most cases, as well as second-most deaths, just a few thousand behind North America.
The United States, with only 4.3% of the world's population, leads with 282,268 deaths so far Sunday at 18.8% and 14,756,914 cases at 22%, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins.
Five European nations are in the top 10 for most deaths: No. 5 Britain at 61,245, No. 6 Italy at 60,078, No. 7 France at 55,155, No. 9 Spain at 46,252 and Russia at 43,141. Russia has the most cases on the continent with 2,460,770, fourth most in the world, including a record 29,039 Sunday.
In Europe cases are far below records set recently but deaths have been at high levels, including surpassing or near the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.
On Sunday, Britain reported 231 deaths after 397 deaths Saturday, behind the record 1,166 April 21, as well 17,272 cases, far from the record 33,470 on Nov. 12.
Italy, which at one time was the world's epicenter, announced 564 deaths Sunday after 662 deaths, but set a record last week with 993, as well as 18,887cases Sunday after a record 40,896 on Nov. 13.
France reported 174 deaths Sunday after 214 deaths Saturday and 932 on Nov. 13 that was the most since a record of 1,437 in April. But its 11,022 cases Sunday were far below a record 86,852 on Oct. 31 and the nation is fifth in the world with 2,281,475.
Spain reported no data over the weekend after 214 deaths and 5,554 cases on Friday.
Russia has been breaking deaths and cases records lately. On Sunday, Russia reported 457 fatalities, four days after a record 589 cases. With the record 29,039 cases, the nation is fourth overall with 2,460,770.
Also in the top 20 for deaths are No. 15 Poland with 228 Sunday after 502 Saturday, No. 16 Germany with 184 but 284 the day before and No. 18 Belgium with 122.
Germany set a record Tuesday with 497 deaths. Until mid-November the record was 333 on April 8 with deaths going into single digits subsequently. Cases peaked at 23,676 on Nov. 19 with Sunday's total 14,750 after 17,812 on Saturday.
On Nov. 2, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and minister from the 16 federal states enacted a partial lockdown and expanded it last week.
But Merkel says there was "a light at the end of the tunnel" since the pandemic started nine months ago.
"We can now hope that there will be one or more vaccines very soon," she said Saturday. "Then we can defeat the virus step by step."
Last week Britain gave emergency approval to a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and plans to begin administering its first doses Tuesday.
With an initial batch of 800,000 vaccine doses, Britain is "one of the first countries in the world to be able to start mass COVID-19 vaccination," Chris Hopson, CEO of the National Health Service Providers, posted on Twitter. "However challenging the actual delivery of the vaccination will be, this is a fantastic development we need to welcome!"
The vaccine requires a second dose three weeks after the first and must be stored at minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Britain's lockdown ended last Wednesday but most of the country remains under tough restrictions.
Between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27, families are allowed to "bubble" with two other households in all four home nations but they cannot go inside pubs, hotels, shops, theaters or restaurants.
"I can't say that Christmas will be normal this year -- but in a period of adversity, time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week. "We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it. But what we don't want is to throw caution to the winds and allow the virus to flare up again, forcing us all back into lockdown in January."
In Italy, travel and midnight mass between Dec. 21 and Jan. 6 has been banned. People are allowed to go between regions only for work, medical reasons and emergencies.
Regions in the highest zone of red are Tuscany, Abruzzo, Campania, Valle d'Aosta, province of Bolzano, meaning residents stay within their municipality, and are only allowed to leave for work, study, health or other essential reasons.
Italy, France and Germany are shutting ski lifts over Christmas.
Random border checks will be imposed to prevent French residents from skiing in neighboring Switzerland, Prime Minister Jean Castex said. Violators will face quarantine upon their returns.
In France, bars and restaurants will remain closed through Christmas. The lockdown is due to end Dec. 15.
Austria will allow slopes to open on Christmas Eve with Switzerland's places already open.
Also, some slopes are open in northern Spain.
Spain's regional authorities have the power to restrict movement but don't allow a full lockdown.
Asia has the second-most cases with 17,503,038 as well as 301,621 deaths, which is fourth among the continents.
With a population of 4.6 billion people, which is 59% of the world, the deaths are 20% and cases are 26%.
Mainland China is the original epicenter but hasn't reported a death since April 26 and has dropped to 40th place with 4,634, behind Bulgaria with 4,797. It added 87 cases Sunday.
In Hong Kong, 112 new cases were reported, which is below the record of 149 on July 30. Since Nov. 22, there have been 1,269 cases of the 6,898 total.
Hong Kong Disneyland closed down Wednesday indefinitely for the third time since the pandemic.
Elsewhere in the Far East, South Korea will raise its social distancing measures starting Tuesday amid rising cases. The capital, Seoul, will enter the fourth-highest tier of five starting Tuesday. That includes the closure of karaoke businesses and gyms with spectators banned at sports events. Hair salons and movie theater close at 9 p.m. And only one-third of workers on site are encouraged.
The nation reported 631 cases Sunday, which is the highest since 853 on March 3, and a total of 37,546. The death toll stands at 545, including five Sunday.
Japan reported 32 deaths for a total of 2,315, including 13 on a ship with cases at 2,424, behind a record 2,679 one week earlier.
On Thursday, Osaka Prefecture issued a "red alert" on its scale of the pandemic's severity, urging residents to avoid leaving their homes.
"The strain on medical care is serious, and it is particularly dire on beds for severe cases," Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura told a meeting of his COVID-19 task force. "This is a situation where we can rightly declare a health emergency."
Two Asian nations are in the top 10 for deaths: India and Iran.
India is third in deaths with 140,573, including 482 Sunday and national-record 1,299. India has the second-most cases in the world with 9,644,222 including 36,011 and a record 97,894 several months.
Iran is in eighth place for most deaths at 50,310, including 294 Sunday after a record 486 on Nov. 16 and 11,561 cases after a record 14,051 on Nov. 27.
In Pakistan, seven patients being treated for the coronavirus have died after one of the largest hospitals in the northwestern city of Peshawar ran out of oxygen supplies. The nation has 8,361 deaths and 416,499 cases.
South America has five spots in the top 20 for most deaths: Brazil in second with 176,962, Argentina in 11th with 39,770, Colombia 12th with 37,808, Peru 13th with 36,274 and Chile 19th with 15,628.
With a population of 422.5 million, the continent is 5% of the global number but 22% of the deaths and 17% of the cases.
On Sunday, the continent reported 766 deaths and 43,545 cases, a drop from Saturday's 1,105 deaths and 62,837 cases.
Of them, Brazil reported 660 deaths with the record 1,554 on July 29 and not exceeding 1,000 since mid-September. Cases were 42,226 cases after a record 70,869 on July 29.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the outbreak though he contracted the virus himself in July.
But the nation's private healthcare system reached 98% capacity in its intensive care units. In states across the country, the situation wasn't much better.
"Brazil has to be very, very serious," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, told reporters. He said the situation is "very, very worrisome."
The WHO official also voiced concerned about Mexico, saying "we would like to ask Mexico to be very serious."
Mexico is fourth in the world for deaths at 109,456 and 12th in cases at 1,168,395.
The nation reported 593 deaths Saturday compared with a high of 1,092 on June 4. And cases are 11,625, one day after record 12,127. Until late November, cases hadn't surpassed 10,000.
Mexico, the United States and Canada have extended their travel ban through Dec. 21 where all but around 16,000 of the total 428,261 deaths are there. That represents 28% of the total deaths in the world though the population is 7%. With 17,573,188 cases, the percentage is 26%.
Canada ranks 23rd in the world for deaths at 12,665, including 93 Saturday and 76 Sundy, as well as 415,182 cases, including 6,261 additional cases Sunday but behind last Saturday's 6,495. Between May 26 and Aug. 30 cases were never more than 1,000.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed $77 billion more in stimulus, which is 3% of the gross domestic product.
"This will be a significant investment to get our economy back on track and it's an investment that will make sure no one gets left behind," he said in a news conference last week in Ottawa.
Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has a fraction of the deaths at 1,021 and cases at 45,927.
New Zealand's deaths have remained at 25 since Sept. 16 and Australia increased its death toll by one last week to 908 after none since Oct. 28.
New Zealand last reported three cases Saturday for a total of 2,078, which is 28 in one week, and Australia up nine Sunday for 27,965, an increase of 72 in seven days.
Melbourne's second lockdown began in July and ended last month.
In the state of Victoria, private companies are allowed to have 25% of their employees back in offices with it increasing to 50% on Jan. 11. Restrictions on gatherings at home have been eased.
But masks must be worn in indoor shopping centers and supermarkets.
Africa has 1.3 billion people, which is 17% of the world population but 3% each of the deaths at 53,961 and cases at 2,276,574
South Africa leads the continent with 22,206 deaths, including 139 Sunday followed by Egypt at 6,771 with 21 on Sunday and 18 Saturday. South Africa has the 16th-most cases in the world at 814,565, including 4,116 more Sunday.