The Latest: South Korea reports less than 40 new virus cases

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Photo credit Healthcare workers dressed in full protective gear organize their documents of data they have collected during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing drive, ringed by a produce market in the Villa Dolores neighborhood of El Alto, Bolivia, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
By The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported less than 40 additional cases of the coronavirus for a second straight day, as authorities struggle to suppress an uptick in local infections.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday it has reported 34 additional cases, raising the country’s total to 13,745 with 295 deaths.

The agency says 21 of the newly confirmed cases were domestically infected patients, all of them found in the densely populated Seoul area or two central cities. It says the rest 13 cases were from overseas.

Health authorities have said imported case of COVID-19 are less threatening than local transmissions because South Korea is mandating testing and enforcing two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.

South Korea on Saturday recorded 39 new cases.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Breathtaking virus numbers show normal life still far away

— Talks into the night as EU leaders haggle over budget, virus

— Police close down packed Barcelona beach amid virus spike

— President Donald Trump has taken an increasingly hands-off approach to the coronavirus crisis in recent days even as COVID-19 cases and deaths surge.

— Doctors who survived COVID-19 are bewildered by public disregard. They see a society that appears to be blithely ignoring the safety precautions that experts have recommended to help stop the spread of COVID-19

— The U.N. secretary-general has made a sweeping call to end the global inequalities that sparked this year’s massive anti-racism protests and have been further exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico continues to register near-record levels of confirmed coronavirus infections, frustrating plans to reopen the economy.

The Health Department reported 7,615 more cases Saturday and 578 more deaths. That brings Mexico to a total of 38,888 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began and 338, 913 cases. Those numbers are widely considered significant undercounts because Mexico has done so little testing. Government labs have administered slightly more than 800,000 tests so far, or about one out of every 150 people in the country with a population of nearly 130 million.

Mexico had hoped to begin a gradual reopening starting in June, but several states have had to reverse course, closing beaches and hotels again.

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BEIJING — China on Sunday said another 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in the northwestern city of Urumqi, raising the total in the country’s most recent local outbreak to at least 30.

An additional three cases were brought into the country from overseas, increasing China’s total number of confirmed cases to 83,660 with 4,634 reported deaths.

Despite the Urumqi outbreak, China has just 251 people remaining in treatment for COVID-19, according to the National Health Commission.

Another 151 people were being monitored in isolation for showing signs of having the virus or for testing positive without showing symptoms. At least 23 of those asymptomatic cases were in Urumqi, although China does not include those in the numbers of confirmed cases.

Urumqi has responded by reducing subway, bus and taxi service, closed off some residential communities and is now conducting tests on people city-wide, beginning with those in communities where cases had been reported, according to state media. Some restrictions on people leaving the city have also been imposed, with the number of flights from the city reduced.

The Urumqi outbreak is the latest to pop up since China largely contained the domestic spread of the virus in March. The largest was a recent outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people, but local authorities on Saturday said commercial operations in the city have largely recovered. The Chinese capital has gone 13 days without a domestically transmitted case, although business at many restaurants and shops remains poor.

Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang region, where China has been accused of human rights abuses among its native Muslim minority groups. China has deployed a massive security presence in the region, which it says is needed to prevent terrorist activity.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Authorities in Amsterdam are urging people not to visit the city’s famous red light district and have closed off some of the historic district’s narrow streets because they are too busy.

After months of coronavirus lockdown measures, sex workers in the Netherlands were allowed to resume work on July 1 and as other restrictions also have eased, the red light district has gotten busier again.

Late Saturday night, amid fears that visitors could not maintain social distancing, Amsterdam Municipality took action, closing roads in the area and tweeting in Dutch and English: “Don’t come to the red light district. It is too busy.”

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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa now ranks fifth in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases caseload as the African continent faces the pandemic’s first wave head-on.

South Africa on Saturday reported 13,285 new confirmed cases for a total of 350,879. That puts the country ahead of Peru and makes up roughly half the cases in Africa. The only four countries with more confirmed cases — the U.S., Brazil, India, and Russia — all have far more people than South Africa’s 57 million.

The virus arrived on the continent a little later than elsewhere, giving officials more time to prepare, but Africa has fewer health care resources than any other region and South Africa’s public hospitals struggle to handle the growing number of patients.

Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, is now Africa’s epicenter for the virus. It has one-quarter of the country’s population and many of the poor are crowded in township areas with inadequate access to clean water and sanitation.

South Africa has seen 4,948 reported virus deaths, but the South African Medical Research Council in its most recent report shows the country had 10,944 “excess deaths” between May 6 and July 7.

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- No employee or resident has tested positive at Yosemite National Park’s health clinic, and no visitors have reported being sick since the park began reopening last month, but tests of the park’s raw sewage have confirmed the presence of the virus.

Dozens of people are believed to have been infected.

The public health officer for Mariposa County, who is overseeing coronavirus testing in the Yosemite area, said the emergence of the coronavirus will not likely lead to policy changes because the park is already following local and state restrictions. Eric Sergienko said he believes the confirmed presence of the virus in Yosemite will make people more vigilant.

Yosemite, which typically attracts more than 4 million visitors each year, is cutting the number of vehicle passes to the park by half. Visitor centers remain closed, while campgrounds, gift shops and hotels are limiting services to allow for physical distancing.

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The World Health Organization is again posting a single-day record of new confirmed coronavirus cases. It announced 259,848 new cases on Saturday.

The WHO on Friday posted more than 237,000 confirmed cases around the world. The back-to-back records come as many nations struggle with new waves of infections after loosening lockdown restrictions.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show more than 14 million cases worldwide since the start of the pandemic.

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PHOENIX — Arizona health officials reported a daily record of 147 deaths from the coronavirus and 2,742 new confirmed cases.

The Department of Health Services say the additional deaths included 106 newly attributed to COVID-19 after health officials’ latest periodic reviews of death certificates. It says the additional cases didn’t include figures from a laboratory that missed the reporting cutoff. The department says the missing cases will be reported Sunday.

The additional deaths and cases reported Saturday increased the statewide confirmed totals to 2,730 deaths and 141,265 infections.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s lifted stay-home orders and other restrictions in May. Last month, he reversed course and authorized local governments to impose masking requirements. Ducey’s recent messaging has promoted use of masks, social distancing and hand washing.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri has set another record for daily increases of coronavirus cases with 958.

The addition brought the state total to 32,248 confirmed cases and exceeded Missouri’s previous one-day high of 936 on Tuesday.

As of Saturday, the seven-day average of new cases reported by the state is 731, up from 560 a week ago.

The number of deaths also increased by nine to 1,130, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 90 additional deaths.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced 30,000 vials of remdesivir were being shipped to the state after hospitals complained of shortages. He says he worked with Vice President Mike Pence last week to expedite the shipments.

DeSantis says the vials will be shipped directly to hospitals in the next 48 to 72 hours and should treat about 5,000 patients. He made the announcement at a St. Augustine hospital during a discussion with doctors.

The state reports Florida hospitals are treating more than 9,000 patients for coronavirus. Overall, there have been nearly 338,000 confirmed cases and 5,002 deaths.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Police in Barcelona are limiting access to some of the city’s beaches because sunbathers are ignoring regulations amid a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Police on Saturday impeded more people for entering the beach and asked others to disperse.

Catalan health authorities reported over 1,200 new cases on Saturday from the preceding 24 hours. The new outbreaks have forced regional officials to announce the prohibition of gatherings of over 10 people that went into effect Saturday.

Barcelona and other areas of the surrounding northeast Catalonia region have experienced the largest outbreaks in Spain since the European country ended a strict three-month nationwide lockdown.

The mandatory use of face masks is rapidly spreading across Spain as officials grapple with more than 180 active outbreaks, most in Catalonia and neighboring Aragon regions.

The coronavirus has resulted in at least 28,000 confirmed deaths in Spain.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities announced 19 new cases of coronavirus and no new deaths over the past 24 hours.

Total confirmed cases since the outbreak of the epidemic are 3,983, with 194 deaths.

Despite the relatively low number of cases, authorities are concerned about increasing evidence that social distancing guidelines aren’t being followed. On Saturday, they extended mandatory wearing of masks to supermarket customers and are considering expanding the mask requirement.

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HONOLULU — Dozens of Hawaii inmates housed at a private prison in southern Arizona are being monitored for coronavirus symptoms.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the Hawaii Department of Public Safety says 45 Hawaii inmates in the same unit at the Saguaro Correctional Center are in quarantine and being monitored for symptoms. Another 28 Hawaii inmates who had contact with Nevada inmates will be quarantined for 14 days.

CoreCivic, which runs the correctional center, didn’t immediately respond to calls by the Associated Press on Saturday. Corrections Corporation of America contracts with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety to house adult male inmates from Hawaii to ease prison overcrowding on the islands.

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TIRANA, Albania — Albania has reported 4,008 confirmed coronavirus cases and 111 total deaths since the pandemic began in the country.

In the last month, daily numbers of new cases have ranged from 50 to 120, at least double compared to the March-May period when the country was in a total lockdown.

Health ministry officials say people must wear masks, keep socially distant and wash hands. Masks are mandatory in closed areas and individuals may receive a small fine for not wearing them in public or private places.

Health officials are checking businesses, cafes and restaurants, handing out larger fines for noncompliance.

Doctors are warning that relaxed measures may result in higher numbers in the upcoming months.

Albania has opened its tourist areas. Most tourists are from neighboring Kosovo, which is experiencing an increase in coronavirus numbers.

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LONDON — British scientists are dismissing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hope the country may emerge from coronavirus lockdown and return to normality by Christmas.

Johnson has announced more easing of restrictions, with people urged to return to public transit and workplaces. He says sports fans should return to stadiums by October and remaining restrictions could be lifted from November, “possibly in time for Christmas.”

But epidemiologist John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, says a return to pre-pandemic normality wouldn’t be possible until there’s a vaccine for the virus.

He says a world where people can “go to work normally, travel on the buses and trains, go on holiday without restrictions, meet friends, shake hands, hug each other and so on — that’s a long way off, unfortunately.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, also says social distancing rules would have to be in place for a “prolonged period.”

Britain has registered more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, the highest total in Europe.

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NEW DELHI — A surge of 34,884 new coronavirus cases took India’s tally to 1,038,716, as local governments reimpose focused lockdowns in several parts of the country.

The Health Ministry on Saturday reported 671 confirmed deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 26,273. The ministry says the recovery rate had slightly come down to 62.9%.

The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are likely far higher because of various reasons, including limited testing. More than 300,000 samples are tested every day.

About a dozen states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam, have put high-risk areas under lockdowns, only allowing essential food supplies and health services.

Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition Congress party, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to take concrete steps to contain the pandemic. He warned the number of infections will double to 2 million by Aug. 10 at the current pace.

Experts say India is likely to witness a series of peaks as the infection spreads in rural areas.

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Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world have topped 14 million and deaths have surpassed 600,000, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.

The World Health Organization reported a single-day record of new infections: over 237,000. Experts believe that the true numbers are even higher.

The United States, Brazil and India top the list with the highest number of cases. India on Friday exceeded 1 million confirmed infections, and Brazil’s cases passed 2 million, including 76,000 deaths, on Thursday.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Victoria state had a marked drop in new COVID-19 infections from Friday’s record high of 428 to 217, a total Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says was “a relief after yesterday’s numbers.”

The Health Department says Saturday that two more Victorians, a man and a woman both in their 80s, had died, taking the state’s death toll to 34 and Australia’s national total to 118.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the latest numbers were encouraging but warned it was just one day.

He says “we’d want to see a pattern where there’s stability and then a decrease.” He urged residents in metropolitan Melbourne to remain diligent during a six-week lockdown: “Being bored is much better than being in intensive care.”

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