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India’s virus caseload tops 3 million as disease moves south

NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus caseload topped 3 million on Sunday, with the country leading the world in new infections as the disease marched through impoverished rural areas in the north and the wealthier but older populations of the south.

Health authorities reported 69,239 new cases and 912 deaths, bringing the total to 3,044,940.

Cases have leveled off in India’s two largest cities, with serological surveys showing widespread prevalence among the residents of the capital, New Delhi, and financial center Mumbai.

New hot spots continue to feed surges in cases in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states in India’s north, and in the southern states of Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

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India has the third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, and its 56,706 fatalities are the fourth-highest in the world.

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13 die in Peru stampede after police lockdown raid

LIMA — Thirteen people died in a stampede at a disco in Lima after a police raid to enforce the country’s lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Sunday.

The stampede happened at the Thomas disco, where about 120 people had gathered for a party on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said.

People tried to escape through the only door of the second-floor disco, trampling one another and becoming trapped in the confined space, according to authorities.

After the stampede, police had to force open the door.

“I feel sorry for the relatives . . . but also anger and indignation with the business people who organized the event,” Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said. He urged judicial authorities to punish those who had broken the law.

Some 23 people were arrested, and 15 of those tested positive for the coronavirus and will be quarantined, Claudio Ramírez, a Health Ministry official, told reporters.

Night clubs have been prohibited from operating since March because of the pandemic. Peru started lifting quarantine restrictions on June 30 in an effort to get the economy moving again, and the daily reported number of virus infections has doubled to more than 9,000 in recent weeks.

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Peru has reported about 27,500 deaths from the virus.

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UK’s top medical officers defend opening schools

LONDON — Britain’s top medical officers say children are more likely to be harmed by staying away from school than from being exposed to the coronavirus.

England’s chief medical officer on Sunday joined his counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales in saying that children are less likely to contract the virus than adults and have “an exceptionally low risk” of dying from COVID-19.

By contrast, they said studies show that not going to school limits children’s ability to succeed in life and may worsen physical and mental health problems.

“Very few, if any, children or teenagers will come to long-term harm from COVID-19 due solely to attending school,” they said in a statement. “This has to be set against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not attending school.”

The statement comes as parents and teachers express concern about reopening schools next month amid fears that social distancing measures won’t keep children safe.

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Pakistan shuts hotels over infections among workers

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities have closed about two dozen hotels in a scenic tourist destination in the country’s northwest after dozens of hotel employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to Maqbool Hussain, a district government official, Sunday’s move to place high-risk areas of Shogran, Naran, and Kaghan under lockdown was aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

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He said as many as 47 hotel employees who tested positive were quarantined at the hotels where they worked.

The measures came hours after Pakistan reported four new COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the fewest deaths reported in a day since March. That announcement raised hopes that Pakistan is on the right path despite having a fragile health system.

Pakistan has confirmed more than 275,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 6,300 deaths since reporting its first case in February.

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S. Korea elevates distancing as virus nears spring levels

SEOUL — Churches were closed and professional baseball games were played in empty stadiums on Sunday as South Korea stepped up measures nationwide to fight a resurgence in coronavirus cases that has raised concerns that the epidemic is getting out of control.

The 397 new cases reported by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marked the 10th-straight day of triple-digit increases and indicated that the speed of the virus’s spread was nearing levels seen during the worst of the outbreak in the spring.

The resurgence, which began in the densely populated Seoul area before reaching practically every major city and provincial town over the past week, is a major setback for a country that had been eager to tout its gains against the virus.

After avoiding stringent social distancing measures because of concerns about hurting the economy, officials stepped up restrictions nationwide on Sunday.

They banned gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors and shut nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants, and computer-gaming cafes.

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Churches can hold online services only, while fans were removed from professional sports, just weeks after baseball and soccer teams had been allowed to sell limited portions of their seats.

Agency director Jeong Eun-kyeong said things will probably get worse before they get better.

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Returning vacationers drive Italy’s surge in virus cases

ROME — With thousands of travelers being tested at Italy’s airports and some ports, the nation where Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak began registered a seventh-straight day of increasing new infections Sunday, mostly driven by returning vacationers.

Sicily’s governor, meanwhile, ordered all migrant residences on the Italian island to be shut down by Monday, part of a pushback by Italian regions alarmed by a steady climb in COVID-19 cases a few weeks before schools are scheduled to reopen.

But people coming in from Mediterranean Sea resorts abroad as well as from the Italian island of Sardinia have accounted for far more of Italy’s new coronavirus infections lately than have migrants.

Italy registered 1,210 new cases Sunday, the highest daily number since May 12 and only weeks after it saw new infections plunge to about 200 a day.

The Lazio region, which includes Rome, and the hard-hit Lombardy led the nation in regional new caseloads Sunday. Thousands of returning travelers got tested at Rome-area airports and a port north of the capital, as well as at airports that serve Lombardy’s main city, Milan. Other cities, like Turin, also have set up airport test facilities.

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People arriving from Spain, Malta, Greece and Croatia must be tested within 48 hours of entering Italy, after those nations saw worrisome upticks in infections.

Associated Press