The total number of people killed by the novel coronavirus around the world passed 750,000 on Thursday, with some countries toughening control measures as caseloads once again creep up. The Latin America and the Caribbean region remains the global epicentre, accounting for almost one-third of all deaths and housing two of the worst-affected countries — Mexico and Brazil. However, fear is growing in other regions of new spikes, with countries including New Zealand and Italy tightening measures in a bid to secure hard-won gains in fighting the virus, which has now infected more than 20 million worldwide.New Zealand, which earlier this week broke a streak of more than 100 days without a new infection, is scrambling to find the source of 17 new cases in its biggest city Auckland — which faces the prospect of a three-day lockdown being extended. “As with our first outbreak, things will get worse before they get better,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a televised address.Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, imposed mandatory coronavirus testing for all travellers arriving from some fellow EU nations and banned all visitors from Colombia. Health officials worry that Italians returning from foreign holidays may bring home the virus and pass it on at summer events.‘Prioritise learning’ Elsewhere in Europe, the first case was reported in one of Greece’s overcrowded island camps housing migrants and asylum seekers, and Spain’s Galicia region banned public smoking and asked people not to remove their masks to smoke where social distancing was not possible.The Finnish government reversed a long-held policy by recommending mask-wearing in public places.And in secretive North Korea — which long insisted it had no cases — officials could be seen disinfecting underground train carriages, distributing hand sanitiser and checking temperatures of masked passengers at station entrances.“We are stepping up propaganda activities as required by the maximum emergency system,” said Jon Gyong Hui, a chief doctor at the railway station in capital Pyongyang.There was some relief for watchers of the world’s biggest economy, as new benefits claims for joblessness in the United States dipped below one million per week for the first time since March.But around 28.3 million people were still receiving some form of government aid in the week ending July 25, far higher than the 1.7 million at the same time last year.Europe’s powerhouse Germany saw bleak news from two economic giants — conglomerate Thyssenkrupp reporting second-quarter losses of 678 million euros ($800 million) and tour operator TUI losing 1.4 billion euros over the same period.Continued woes for the aviation and transport sectors mean global oil demand is likely to remain depressed throughout this year and much of 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.