The Latest: South Africa reports highest daily toll of cases

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is reporting another record daily number of 8,124 coronavirus cases.

The country has the most cases in Africa with more than 159,000, as what had been one of the world’s strictest lockdowns continues to loosen.

Johannesburg is a new hot spot with hundreds of health workers infected. Gauteng province that contains Johannesburg has more than 45,000 confirmed cases.

The African continent has more than 405,000 confirmed cases overall.

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

— A predicted surge in U.S. job growth for June might not last

— Closing bars to stop coronavirus spread is backed by science

— Trump says he’ll now wear mask in public, thinks it makes him looks like Lone Ranger

— The coronavirus death toll in Brazil keeps rising and among the dead is a little girl named Vitoria Gabrielle from a working class Rio de Janeiro neighborhood.

— Some public health experts are criticizing the U.S. for securing a large supply of the only drug licensed so far to treat COVID-19. The U.S. government announced this week that it had an agreement with Gilead Sciences to make the bulk of their production of remdesivir for the next three months available to Americans.

— Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are reporting encouraging signs from its very early testing of a possible COVID-19 vaccine. Preliminary results released Wednesday from 45 volunteers showed hoped-for immune reactions in two of the tested doses.

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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:

NEW DELHI — The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has topped 600,000, with health authorities reporting 19,148 new cases in the past 24 hours.

As of Thursday, India’s virus tally stood at 604,641 infections, with 100,000 of those infections reported in the past four days.

India’s Health Ministry said the death toll from the virus was now 17,834 people.

The worst hit three states, including those home to the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, account for more than 60% of the country’s cases.

Despite the surge in infections, the western beach of state of Goa, a popular backpacking destination, opened for tourism on Thursday with the state government allowing 250 hotels to reopen after more than three months. Tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates or get tested on arrival.

The state has so far reported 1,387 positive cases with four deaths.

Many industries and businesses have reopened across the country, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets. Schools remain closed.

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DARWIN, Australia — Australia’s Northern Territory has detected its first person infected with COVID-19 in three months, a man who spent time overseas and in a virus hotspot within the city of Melbourne.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said Thursday the man returned from Melbourne on Monday before 36 suburbs in Australia’s second-largest city were locked down for a month on Wednesday night.

Fyles said the man had spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Melbourne after returning from overseas then spent “a couple of days“ with family in one of the 36 suburbs.

Fyles did not say whether the man was likely infected in Melbourne or overseas. The Northern Territory last detected a case on April 6.

Victorian Chief Health Minister Brett Sutton said 77 infections had been detected in the past 24 hours in Melbourne, mostly in the locked-down suburbs.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it has confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week.

The figures reported Thursday brought the national case total to 12,904, including 282 deaths.

Twenty-two of the new cases are in Gwangju, a southwestern city where infections were tied to various places, including office buildings, public libraries, welfare centers and a Buddhist temple.

Twenty-three of the new cases came from the densely popular Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May amid increased economic activity and eased attitudes on social distancing.

Health Minster Park Neung-hoo is expressing alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which had one of the smallest case loads among major South Korean cities before this week.

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BEIJING — China is reporting three newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, and says just one of them involved local transmission in the capital of Beijing.

The report Thursday appears to put the country where the virus was first detected late last year on course to eradicating it domestically, at least temporarily.

The National Health Commission says the other two cases were brought from outside China. No new deaths were reported, leaving the toll at 4,634 among 83,537 total cases of COVID-19.

China credits strict quarantine, social distancing and case tracing policies with helping radically lower the number of cases.

China is moving swiftly to re-open its economy, but mass employment looms as the heavily indebted government is reluctant to spend lavishly on stimulus programs.

Categories: AP National News