Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus while authorities in a Chinese port city say they have tested more than 3 million residents for COVID0-19 in a few days.
The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday there were more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34 per cent from the previous week.
The UK, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new infections.
The increasing caseload is partly the result of more testing, but the UN health agency noted that deaths were also up 16 per cent last week from the week before.
Doctors are warning that while many of the new cases are in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely among older people, resulting in more serious illnesses.
Italy and France are restricting parties and putting limits on restaurants.
The Czech Republic is closing all schools until November 2 while Latvia is ordering teenagers to switch to distance learning for a week.
The Dutch government decided to close bars and restaurants as of Wednesday.
The UK earlier unveiled a three-tiered system for deciding what restrictions to impose based on how severe the outbreak is in certain areas.
Those moves reflect a new approach to containing the virus among governments wary of hurting already fragile economies.
Officials are eager to avoid the total lockdowns they imposed in the northern spring that resulted in heavy job losses.
Instead, they are relying on a patchwork of regional or targeted restrictions that have sometimes caused confusion and frustration among those affected.
The UN health agency appeared to support the new approach, with WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic saying lockdowns should be a "last resort".
Italy made masks mandatory outdoors last week, a requirement already in place in Spain, Turkey, India and a few other Asian countries.
Elsewhere in Europe, such mandates are in effect in many places in Poland and hot spot cities like Paris and Brussels and are being introduced in several German cities.
In an effort to keep people and goods moving throughout the European Union, member countries approved a colour-coded system on Tuesday.
The countries agreed to not restrict people travelling between green areas - where infection numbers are low - but governments of EU members will continue to set their own restrictions, such as quarantines or mandatory testing upon arrival, for people coming from orange or red zones.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Chinese port city of Qingdao said they had completed tests on more than 3 million people following the country's first reported local outbreak in nearly two months.
The city's health department said on Tuesday no new cases have been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far.
The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.
The National Health Commission, however, said on Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.
The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
Authorities in Qingdao have said they plan to test all 9 million people in the city by the end of the week, similar to previous mass testing campaigns in other cities where outbreaks have been detected.
Taiwan said on Tuesday it has diagnosed coronavirus in a Taiwanese man returning from China for the first time since February.
The patient reported having a runny nose and cough to quarantine officials upon his arrival in Taiwan on Sunday, Central Epidemic Command Center spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang said.
Chuang said the man had been working in the eastern province of Jiangsu, which, according to China's National Health Commission, has not reported any recent cases of local transmission of the virus.
He said Taiwan's last case of a person bringing the virus from China was on February 6.
Globally, more than 37.87 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus and 1,080,549 have died.