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Two women look at the beach in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

COVID-19 death toll crosses 600,000: Global virus update

Two women look at the beach in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Johns Hopkins University says the global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 600,000.

The university’s tally as of Saturday night says the United States tops the list with 140,103 deaths. It is followed by 78,772 fatalities in Brazil and 45,358 in the United Kingdom.

The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.3 million, out of which 3.7 million are in the United States. There are over 2 million in Brazil and more than 1 million in India.

The World Health Organization again reported a single-day record of new infections with 259,848.

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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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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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.

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.