More than half a million people have been killed by the novel coronavirus, nearly two thirds of them in the United States and Europe, according to Johns Hopkins University tracker till Monday.

The official death count for the disease now stands at 501,955 deaths from 10,147,906 cases recorded worldwide. The United States has suffered the highest death count (125,803), followed by Brazil (57,622) and the United Kingdom (43,634).

The actual death toll and number of cases is believed to be higher, due to differing testing rates and cause of death definitions, delays in reporting and suspected underreporting. But cases are rising by about a million a week, the WHO warned last week, with the rate of infection doubling since 21 May, according to analysis by AFP.

The United States added 288 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tally showed on Sunday, with the infection rate remaining high as the country struggles to control a new surge of the disease. The world’s largest economy is the hardest-hit country by the pandemic, with 125,803 dead out of more than 2.5 million cases, according to the Baltimore-based institution at 8:30pm (0030 GMT Monday).

Bars in Los Angeles and six other Californian counties were ordered to close again on Sunday as parts of the country reimpose shutdown measures to try to quell a recent sharp jump in coronavirus cases.

(With inputs from AFP)