The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that there will be no return to normal for the foreseeable future as the pandemic gets worse.
“There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that “too many countries” were heading “in the wrong direction”.
If the public does not follow social distancing rules, wearing masks and staying home when sick, the pandemic will get “worse and worse and worse,” Dr Tedros added.
The warning came after the total number of coronavirus cases across the world rose by more than 230,000 on Sunday— a new daily record.
Most of the 230,370 cases and 5,285 deaths recorded on 12 July were from countries in North and South America, with the United States alone recording 66,281.
The US, the world’s worst-affected country, now has a total of more than 3.3 million cases and 135,000 deaths.
Prior to now, the daily record for new cases globally in a 24-hour period was 228,000 cases recorded on 10 July.
The last three days accounted for the three highest total daily figures.
The numbers of confirmed cases are believed to be an underestimate of the actual number of people who have had coronavirus, due to many with COVID-19 not being tested.
Cases have been rising sharply in the Americas, with Mexico, Chile and Peru all recording thousands of cases every day for the last few weeks.
At the weekend Mexico overtook Italy as the county with the fourth-highest official death toll from coronavirus and it also surpassed the UK in terms of total number of cases to land in seventh place globally.
Countries in Eastern Europe are also seeing rising waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, with new restrictions being imposed in Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Protesters have clashed with police in Serbia as demonstrations broke out over the president’s handling of coronavirus in the country.
WHO warned additionally that “mixed messages” from governments were not helping the pandemic.