The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a record rise in coronavirus cases as a top official says British workers shouldn’t be “too scared” of returning to the office.
The record one-day rise of 307,930 new infections was fuelled by outbreaks in India, the US and Brazil, three of the most populous countries in the world.
It came as Dr Hans Kluge, WHO’s Europe chief, said it is important for people to return to workplaces and get out of the house and enjoy themselves for the sake of the economy and their mental health.
Amid fears of a second wave in the UK, the daily number of cases of Covid-19 has hit a four-month high, restrictions were tightened in England, Scotland and Wales on Monday, and local lockdown cubs are being imposed in Birmingham on Tuesday due to a spike in infections.
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Dr Kluge told the Daily Mail said the rise in cases in Britain was not surprising, and it shouldn’t stop the country from gradually opening up.
He said there was a danger people are “too scared” about returning to normal, and it is important for people to get out an have face-to-face contact.
Dr Kluge said: “It’s OK to spread fun, but not to spread the virus.
“There are ways of not doing so, so not going with mass gatherings and going instead with the physical distancing. But we have to be positive, it’s not the end of the world.”
He added: “It’s normal that if you open up, you are going to see spikes, so that’s nothing surprising.”
The expert said a number of countries have learnt how to apply restrictions in a localised, tailored way to curb the spread of the virus.
But he warned that countries must open up because lockdowns and restrictions have been “disastrous” for people’s mental health.
Recent surveys have suggested that many Britons who are still working from home are reluctant to resume commuting and return to the office.
It is estimated that as few as 17% have returned to their workplaces in some areas.
Recent figures show a steep rise in the number of young people testing positive for coronavirus, suggesting they have largely fuelled the increase in infections.
Dr Kluge said celebrities and social media influences should be recruited to preach the need for social distancing to young people.
WHO reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 307,930 in 24 hours.
The biggest increases were from India, the United States and Brazil, according to the agency’s website.
Deaths rose by 5,537 to a total of 917,417.
India reported 94,372 new cases, followed by the United States with 45,523 new infections and Brazil with 43,718.
Both the United States and India each reported over 1,000 new deaths and Brazil reported 874 lives lost in the past 24 hours.
The UK announced 3,330 new cases, the highest Sunday total in four months, as the UK Government focuses testing on Covid-19 hotspots.
On Friday, a further 3,539 cases were announced – the highest number of infections in four months.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 306,857 on September 6.
The agency reported a record 12,430 deaths on April 17.
Infections are still rising in almost 60 countries.