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The Latest: Virus infects Cambodians who went on UN mission

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia’s Health Ministry announced Friday it has confirmed four new cases of the coronavirus, all members of a Cambodian military force that had been stationed in the African nation of Mali on a peacekeeping mission for the United Nations.

The three men and a woman were members of a team that had worked on land mine clearance. They were among 80 members who arrived back in Cambodia on July 10. The four were confirmed on Thursday to be infected.

Cambodia since 2006 has sent more than 6,000 soldiers to participate in demining and engineering work in U.N. peacekeeping operations in the Middle East and Africa. Officials have explained the deployments are partly in gratitude for a massive 1992-1993 U.N. peacekeeping operation in Cambodia that oversaw a transition from civil war to political stability.

Cambodia has confirmed 202 cases of coronavirus with no deaths. There have been no recent cases of local transmission. All new cases have involved arrivals from abroad, virtually all of them Cambodians but also including two U.S. diplomats.

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

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— Lonely burials for virus victims in Iraq’s Najaf

Pepcid as a virus remedy? Trump admin’s $21 million gamble fizzled

— Movie theaters beg for blockbusters

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Follow 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 — India has surpassed 30,000 deaths and its COVID-19 fatalities are now sixth in the world.

The Health Ministry on Friday added 740 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, increasing the toll to 30,601. The total now exceeds France’s toll, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

India also registered a record 49,310 new cases, taking the country’s tally to 1,287,945, third most in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

More than 60% have recovered.

As cases surge, the Home Ministry advised all government offices, states and officials to avoid congregations for Aug. 15 Independence Day celebrations.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea will allow baseball fans to return to the stands beginning Sunday as health authorities outlined a phased process to bring back spectators in professional sports amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho also said fans will be allowed at professional soccer games starting on Aug. 1. However, professional golf tournaments will continue without galleries at least until late August, he said.

Both baseball and soccer teams will be initially allowed to sell only 10% of seats for each game and fans must register with smartphone QR codes for contract-tracing purposes if necessary. Fans will be banned from eating food and drinking beer, and discouraged from excessive shouting, singing and cheering during the game.

South Korea’s baseball and soccer leagues returned to action in May without fans in the stands. Seats have been covered with cheering banners, dolls or pictures of fans as teams tried to mimic a festive atmosphere.

South Korea reported 41 new virus cases Friday, 28 of them local infections and 13 from overseas. South Korea has been reporting roughly 20-60 cases every day since it eased rigid social distancing rules in early May.

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MELBOURNE, Australia — The premier of Australia’s COVID-19 hot spot, Victoria state, says the military will be used to bolster contact-tracing efforts.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Friday that if someone who is a newly diagnosed coronavirus case does not answer after being telephoned twice, soldiers will accompany a health official to the infected person’s home for a contact-tracing interview on the doorstep.

Anyone who is not at home will likely be fined for failing to home quarantine while awaiting a negative test result. Previously, failure to contact an infected person by phone was not followed up with a house call.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all states and territories had eradicated community transmission except for the most populous, New South Wales and Victoria states.

“There will always be cases that come because Australia has not completely shut itself off from the world. To do so would be reckless,” Morrison said.

Victoria recorded 300 new cases on Friday and New South Wales seven, both declines from the previous day.

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BEIJING — Chinese officials have reported two confirmed coronavirus cases in a northeastern province as China continues to see infection clusters develop even though it has largely contained the virus in most of the country.

Authorities in Liaoning province have closed theaters, night clubs and indoor tourist attractions trying to stem further infections.

The Liaoning infections mark China’s latest cluster after one in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang earlier this month. That outbreak, focused on the regional capital of Urumqi, has infected dozens of people and officials have curbed travel and ordered widespread testing.

Elsewhere, China has largely contained the virus, with major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai opening up to increased economic activity and social interaction.

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