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The Latest: India virus count tops 600,000 amid recent surge

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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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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.

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

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