The number of coronavirus infections worldwide has passed 20 million - and the disease is still accelerating.

The world reached the grim milestone today according to a John Hopkins University case tracker.

It took almost six months to reach 10 million cases after the first infection was reported in Wuhan, China, in early January, but just 43 days to double that tally to 20 million.

The United Kingdom is among the countries leading the surge as Covid-19 case numbers are now back over 1,000 a day.

The US has passed 5 million total cases, and Brazil has become a virus world epicentre with more than 100,000 deaths.

While lockdowns have been easing in the UK for weeks, health leaders have been warning Britain could follow Europe into a second wave.

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The John Hopkins University School of Medicine runs a Covid-19 'dashboard' tracking cases globally

Spain, Germany and France are already experiencing second spikes of the virus after easing restrictions, including allowing travel.

Experts believe the official data likely undercounts both infections and deaths, particularly in countries with limited testing capacity.

The pandemic is accelerating fastest in Latin America which accounts for almost 28% of the world's cases and more than 30% of deaths, according to the Reuters tally.

With the first wave of the virus yet to peak in some countries and a resurgence of cases in others, governments are still divided in their responses.

People wear protective face masks in Korea Town, New York City
Members of the public wear face masks in Burwood in Sydney, Australia

Some countries are reintroducing strict public health measures, while others continue to relax restrictions.

Health experts expect dilemmas about how to proceed with school, work and social life to last - and restrictions to fluctuate - until a vaccine is available.

The vaccine race has more than 150 candidates being developed and tested around the world with 25 in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, children began returning to their classrooms last week, even as controversy over school safety swirled.

Britain has added both Spain and Belgium to a list of countries from which returning travellers must quarantine at home for 14 days because of fresh upticks in some European locations.

Shoppers wear face masks on Market Street in Manchester where a local lockdown has been enforced

In Asia, China continues to squash surges using strict, local lockdowns, bringing its daily numbers down into the low double digits on the mainland.

Australia has introduced a strict lockdown and night curfew in the city of Melbourne, aiming to stifle an outbreak there.

Neighbouring New Zealand, where life has largely returned to normal, on the weekend recorded 100 days with no new cases of local transmission.

Today in the UK, the number of coronavirus cases recorded rose by 816 in the last 24 hours, with a further eight deaths.

A total of 311,641 have now tested positive for Covid-19, official data showed.

On Sunday there were 1,062 new positive tests for the coronavirus, at a time of new local lockdowns in some areas and worries over a second wave of infections.

The figures come after NHS England has reported six new hospital deaths today, while Northern Ireland announcing one and Wales and Scotland had none.