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The Latest: Beijing sees 158 cases in week of new outbreak

BEIJING — A Beijing government spokesman says the city has recorded a total of 158 confirmed cases since the new outbreak was detected last week at a large wholesale market.

Hu Hejian says close contacts are being traced to locate all possible cases as quickly as possible amid strengthened testing and other prevention and control measures.

Anyone who has been near the Xinfad market since May 30, along with their close contacts, will be quarantined at home for 14 days and tested at least twice, said city government official Zhang Ge.

Beijing reported 21 cases Thursday, down from 31 a day earlier.

Beijing has barred entry to all confirmed and suspected cases, patients with fever and close contacts from abroad and other provinces, Zhang said. China also has barred most foreigners from entering and even foreign diplomats arriving from abroad must undergo two weeks of home quarantine.

All indoor public venues remain closed, Zhang said. Offices, restaurants and hotels in high risk area also will be shut down, he said.

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

— Race for virus vaccine could leave some countries behind

— Study ties blood type to COVID-19 risk; O may help, A hurt

— NASA’s next Mars rover honors medical teams fighting virus

— A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says special tunnels have been installed to protect Putin from the coronavirus at home and at work. Reports about tunnels where anyone passing through gets sprayed with germ-killing antiseptics appeared in Russian media on Tuesday night.

South Africa’s president says the country now faces two pandemics, COVID-19 and the violence against women and children that has risen sharply since alcohol sales were allowed again on June 1. President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a national address that 21 women and children have been killed since the start of the month.

— U.S. health regulators are issuing warnings to three companies selling at-home blood tests for coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration said the tests are illegal because they haven’t been federally reviewed to safely and accurately detect COVID-19. No tests are FDA-approved for consumers to test themselves at home.

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW DELHI: India recorded the highest one-day spike of 12,281 coronavirus cases, raising the total to 366,946 even as the government ruled out reimposing a countrywide lockdown.

India’s death toll reached 12,237, a rise of 334 in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. The number of recoveries touched 52% at 194,325.

India stands behind the United States, Brazil and Russia in the number of cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday rejected media reports that the government was considering reimposing lockdown. India has to think about further unlocking, minimizing all possibilities of harm to people, he said.

The March 25 lockdown is now restricted to high-risk areas.

The worst-hit states are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has reported 5,358 new coronavirus cases, pushing infections in the Middle East beyond 1 million.

Cases in Pakistan have been spiraling in recent weeks, crossing 160,000 on Thursday even as Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted pleas from medical professionals and the World Health Organization to reimpose a strict lockdown for at least two weeks.

Khan says a countrywide lockdown would devastate an already crumbling economy and hurt the poorest with unemployment expected to near 7 million. Economists say Pakistan’s poverty rate of 30% has increased to 40% since the first lockdown was imposed in mid-March.

Khan’s critics say a series of missteps has worsened the epidemic in Pakistan, beginning with his refusal to shut down mosques, particularly in April and May during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan followed by Eid-al Fitr, a holiday that brought millions of Pakistanis into overcrowded markets.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 59 COVID-19 cases as infections steadily rise in the capital area where half the country’s 51 million people live.

The figures announced Thursday by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring the national caseload to 12,257, including 280 deaths.

The agency says 39 of the new cases are in Seoul and the surrounding region, where authorities are trying to stem transmissions amid increased economic activity and eased attitudes on social distancing.

Eight new cases were linked to international arrivals. Officials are concerned the resurgence of the virus in China could bring more imported cases. South Korea has tied at least 1,379 cases to international arrivals and is requiring two-week quarantines on all passengers arriving from abroad.

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CANBERRA, Australia — The two universities in Australia’s capital plan to fly in 350 foreign students as the country’s international education sector reopens after the coronavirus lockdown.

Australian National University and Canberra University said Thursday they expect the chartered aircraft to fly to Canberra from Singapore in late July.

Priority will be given to students involved in research that can’t be done online. The students will be quarantined at a hotel for two weeks. They are likely to be the first foreign students to return to Australian campuses since the lockdown.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB he supports the universities’ plan. Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says it’s likely Australia won’t allow general international travel before next year.

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BEIJING — China’s capital has reported a decline in newly confirmed coronavirus cases as the city continues to press stricter measures to contain a new outbreak.

Beijing reported 21 cases Thursday, down from 31 a day earlier.

Officials reported 28 new cases in all nationwide. Of the cases outside Beijing, four were brought by Chinese travelers from outside the country and three were reported in the city of Tianjin and Hebei province, both of which border Beijing.

No new deaths were reported, leaving the total number of fatalities at 4,634.

Beijing this week moved to suspend classes and restrict tourism and travel in and out of the city to stem any further spread in the latest outbreak traced to the city’s largest wholesale market.

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