The world’s number of COVID-19 cases surged well past 500,000 today, led by thousands of new cases in several European hot spots and accelerating activity in many parts of the United States.

Because of quickly evolving pandemic developments, the global total climbed from 400,000 to 500,000 in only 2 days.

Italy and Spain cases surge; Russia closes border

The 6,153 new cases reported by Italy today is its second highest daily total, lifting its overall number to 80,539. Italy also reported 662 more deaths, raising its fatality count to 8,165. Several websites that track global cases had the United States accelerate into the hardest-hit country late this afternoon, with China close behind and Italy set to pass China.

Spain’s daily total was even higher, with 6,673 cases today, along with 442 more deaths, raising its respective totals to 56,188 and 4,089. In another development, the Spanish government extended its lockdown until at least Apr 12.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom today reported 2,128 new cases, along with 113 more deaths, putting the country over the 10,000-case mark with 11,658. So far, 578 patients in the UK have died from their infections. And Germany, one of the other main European hot spots, now has 36,508 cases, 44 of them fatal, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

In Russia, which is reporting an increasing number of cases, government officials today announced that the country would seal all its borders and cancel all international flights, except for ones bringing Russians home, CNN reported. The moves came a day after President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation, warning of a complex situation and announcing that next week will be a paid stay-at-home holiday.

According to the report, the country today reported 182 cases, its biggest single-day rise, lifting the total to 840, including 3 deaths.

China bars international flights; Japan’s cases rise

Chinese officials today announced that foreigners will be barred from entering the country, except for diplomats and crew of international airlines and ships, the Jakarta Post reported. It also reduced the number of international flights going in and out of China.

Nearly all the country’s new COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks have been imported cases. For example, China’s National Health Commission today reported 67 new cases today, all of them imported, lifting that total to 541.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo reported 47 cases today, the biggest jump in a single day, CBS News reported. Japan’s capital is preparing for a weekend indoors to slow the spread of the virus.

The country’s health officials have aired concerns about a rising number of cases and are worried that disease activity is accelerating. The country’s health ministry today reported 71 new cases and 4 asymptomatic carriers, raising the total to 1,387, with 46 deaths.

Other parts of Asia are battling a resurgence of cases. Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection today reported 43 more cases, 29 of them with recent travel history, raising its total to 454. And Singapore’s health ministry today reported 52 new cases, 28 of them imported, boosting its total to 683.

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