PARIS: Europe on Wednesday tightened virus restrictions as fears of a second wave of infections spurred by the holiday season grew with the worldwide death toll crossing 700,000.
Greece announced a "wake-up week," tightening restrictions after domestic infections saw over 380 new cases in August.
Scotland reimposed restrictions in and around the city of Aberdeen, after a cluster of cases was identified there.
Toulouse in southwest France made the wearing of face masks compulsory in the busiest streets and squares from Wednesday. Paris and other cities are expected to follow suit soon, authorities said.
South Africa announced that 24,000 of its health workers had contracted the virus, with more than a hundred of them dying from it.
A total of 701,559 deaths have been recorded so far around the world, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources AT 1600 GMT.
Europe remains the hardest hit region with 211,603 fatalities, but the number of deaths is rising fast in Latin America, with 206,835 recorded.
Announcing the re-introduction of restrictions in Greece, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Mega TV: "We are trying to awaken people with messages and daily announcements on additional measures," "The virus is here, it feeds on our complacency," he said.
One of Belgium's biggest meat processing plants, Westvlees, sent 225 staff home to quarantine after a cluster of coronavirus cases was discovered.
Switzerland added mainland Spain to a quarantine list of 46 countries as well as Singapore and Romania. In the Netherlands, similar mask-wearing measures came into force Wednesday in Rotterdam and in some busy neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, including its famous red-light district.
One of Brazil's leading indigenous chiefs, 71-year-old Aritana Yawalapiti, died Wednesday of respiratory complications caused by COVID-19. In Afghanistan, the health ministry said nearly a third of the population - or 10 million people - has been infected with the coronavirus.
The US government Wednesday announced a new $1 billion investment in a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson, guaranteeing 100 million doses.
J&J, via its subsidiary Janssen, received $456 million in March.
Clinical trials on humans began in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by German pharmaceutical group BioNTech with Chinese company Fosun Pharma.