The World Health Organisation's Europe director says there is a "small signal" the latest resurgence of coronavirus cases in the region is slowing while in India total infections are approaching 9 million.
There were 1.8 million coronavirus cases across Europe last week, a slight dip from more than 2 million cases the previous week.
Hans Kluge said "we should all see light at the end of the tunnel but it will be six tough months".
Kluge said people could avoid stricter outbreak control measures if they were more willing to adhere to recommended measures.
"If mask wearing reached 95 per cent, lockdowns would not be needed," he said.
"But with the current 60 per cent or lower mask use, it is hard to avoid lockdowns."
Kluge warned countries that release lockdowns too quickly without other measures in place could lead the coronavirus to rebound.
He called for a tiered system that would spell out clear measures depending on transmission in the community.
Germany's disease control agency said on Thursday the coronavirus situation in the country remains serious but there are signs that lockdown measures are slowing the spread of the virus.
India has recorded 45,576 new cases of the coronavirus health ministry data showed on Thursday, taking total infections in the country to 8.96 million.
The country has the world's second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the US but cases have been falling since hitting a peak in September.
Deaths rose by 585, with the total now at 131,578, the ministry said.
The city government of the capital New Delhi said it was working to increase the number of beds in hospital intensive care units as fears abound of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases after the Diwali festival.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sought the federal government's approval to shut down city markets, which are likely hotspots for the virus.
His government has also increased the fine for not wearing masks to 2000 rupees ($A37) from the previous 500 rupees.
Japan's number of new coronavirus infections hit a record high on Thursday as the prime minister urged maximum caution but stopped short of calling for restrictions on travel or business.
The health ministry on Thursday reported 2179 new cases, the first time Japan has had more than 2000 new daily cases since the pandemic began.
The previous high for new cases was 1723 on November 14.
Globally, more than 56.25 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus and 1,348,822 have died.