coronavirus UK
(Image: EPA/WILL OLIVER)

Australia could be heading toward a COVID-normal summer. Victoria's lockdown is easing with the second wave reigned in, state borders are set to reopen, and the first Kiwi travellers are here.

But overseas, the picture is far less rosy. Global cases of coronavirus rose by a daily record of 400,000 on Saturday, a reminder of how the pandemic continues to cause havoc. Restrictions are returning across Europe, where cases are surging. And despite optimism about the prospects of a vaccine, ongoing restrictions to everyday life could continue well into next year.

Western failure?

Europe is paying the price for a hasty summer reopening, with case numbers threatening to spiral out of control. Italy, which came to symbolise the sheer terror and devastation of the first wave recorded over 10,000 new cases last week, its highest total ever. In the United Kingdom, daily numbers are closing in on 20,000.