Economies around the world reported record slumps on Thursday and companies from banks to car makers warned of losses in the latest fallout from the pandemic that has infected more than 17 million people across the globe.
Six months after the World Health Organisation declared a global emergency, countries around the globe are struggling to control infections even as they seek to restart damaged economies.
Even nations that appeared to have largely curbed the disease are being gripped by resurgences, with Australia on Thursday reporting a record number of new infections and its deadliest day of the pandemic.
Despite efforts in place to contain the virus, Covid-19 has killed more than 667 000 people around the world and total infections have passed 17 million since the disease first emerged in China late last year.
As governments try to weigh lockdown measures against the need to revive economies, the United States said its economy had contracted 32.9% in the second quarter – the worst on record since 1947.
Germany said its GDP had shrunk a record 10.1% during the same period although experts saw a recovery already on its way.
Belgium and Austria also said their economies shrank by 12.2% and 10.7%.
Mexico’s economy – Latin America’s largest after Brazil – suffered its worst recorded contraction in the second quarter after being ravaged by the pandemic.
Across the globe, companies were also taking a hit with Airbus, VW, oil producer Shell, UK bank Lloyds and Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic all reporting losses.
Britain’s biggest tour operator Tui said it will close 166 stores due to a collapse in foreign travel and shift towards online booking, accelerated by the pandemic.
Global daily cases are now approaching the 300 000 mark, with the curve showing no sign of flattening – it took just 100 hours for one million new cases to be recorded.
The United States — the world’s worst-affected nation – crossed a grim milestone as virus deaths passed 150 000.
Meanwhile, the EU updated its list of countries approved for travel to the European bloc, which it reviews every two weeks. The United States was not on the list and it also removed Algeria.
The EU’s safe list does, however, include Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Several European countries have slapped restrictions on travel to and from Spain, while officials elsewhere bicker over the seriousness of the current outbreak.