COVID-19's global death toll breached past the half million mark on Sunday, while the number of confirmed cases reached 10 million globally, a tally by the Johns Hopkins University showed.

The number of cases around the world represents a landmark in the spread of the highly contagious disease, which was thought to have emerged in China late last year. Nevertheless, with research in certain parts of the world still limited, the total number of global cases may be substantially greater.

The sobering milestone was attained as nations that tried to reopen their economies continued to scale the figures back while warning that more bad news could be in the offing.

Around one in four of the fatalities - over 125,000 - have been registered in the US where cases of the virus continue to soar in states including Florida and Mississippi. The nation with the next highest death figure is Brazil, with over 57,000, or around one in nine of the world's deaths.

The actual death toll from COVID-19 is largely believed to be much higher. Health authorities claim that especially early on, many victims have perished from the disease without even being tested for it.

One million new cases were reported in just six days, based on AFP tally taken from official sources, even as some nations eased on tight lockdowns that have crippled their economies and rendered jobless.

Florida health authorities recorded a daily record of over 9,500 new cases late Saturday. Nevada, South Carolina, and Georgia also reported record daily figures. In Washington, local officials paused the state's return to normal as a result of a rising number of cases and worries about the continued spread of the disease.

In South Africa, health officials warned that the nation's current increase of coronavirus cases is estimated to rapidly skyrocket in the coming weeks and push medical facilities to the brink.

In India, which has the fourth largest outbreak in the world, confirmed cases have topped 500,000, health ministry data revealed on Saturday, with cases rising in key cities, including New Delhi, the capital.

France and France, on the other hand, attempted a measure towards normality as the two countries held elections that had been delayed by the coronavirus.

Several other governments have also implemented new restrictions to curb the fresh outbreaks. China carried out a strict lockdown on almost half a million people in a province that surrounds Beijing to fight a fresh cluster. Beijing official Xu Hejian described the current situation as "severe and complicated".