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COVID Cases Grow in Places Where Infection Had Nearly Disappeared


A couple wearing face masks look at their mobile phones in front of a big poster in Hong Kong, July 27, 2020.

Several places that had early success in fighting the coronavirus are seeing new waves of infections after relaxing restrictions, including Vietnam, Australia and Hong Kong.

Vietnam announced Monday it was evacuating tourists from the Danang area after several people tested positive for the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. A Vietnamese government statement said the evacuations of 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, will take at least four days. The country remains closed to foreign tourists.

Vietnam on Saturday reported its first locally transmitted cases since April, putting the government on high alert. The country has widely been seen as successful in dealing with the outbreak.

In Australia, authorities in the southeastern state of Victoria reported a record 532 new cases Monday and warned a lockdown there could be extended beyond its original six-week timeline.

"As it stands right now, we are seeing too many people for whatever reason attending work with symptoms," said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. "That just cannot continue. Otherwise, these restrictions will be in place for longer than they should be and I'm sorry to say, we will see more people die, particularly in aged care."

The rest of Australia is virtually free from new confirmed coronavirus cases, with Victoria and neighboring New South Wales accounting for nearly all new infections.

In Hong Kong, authorities announced increased restrictions Monday in response to an outbreak, including closing dine-in services at restaurants and well as limiting social gatherings to two people instead of four.

The city has reported more than 1,000 new cases of the virus in the last two weeks after having early success in controlling the pandemic.

More than 16.3 million infections have been reported around the world, including nearly 650,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.

United States

The United States leads the world in the number of confirmed cases with more than 4.2 million, and on Sunday added 55,000 new cases and more than 500 deaths, according to Hopkins statistics.

Florida and Texas and have been among the leaders in the surge of U.S. cases.

Health experts blame the leap in the number of cases on businesses and public attractions reopening too soon, and not enough people wearing masks and social distancing.

The White House announced Monday that U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien tested positive, becoming the highest-ranking member of the administration of President Donald Trump known to have been infected with the virus.

"There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President," according to a White House statement.

Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins canceled their Monday night home opener in Miami after more than eight more players and two coaches tested positive for the coronavirus.

In addition, the Phillies, the Philadelphia team that recently played the Marlins, called off their Monday night game at home against the New York Yankees.

Baseball opened its 2020 season last week, three months late, and will play 60 games instead of the usual 162. Many of the league's 30 teams have reported multiple players testing positive for the virus.

Europe

Spain is safe for tourists, it said Sunday, rebuking Britain for imposing a two-week quarantine on all travelers entering the country from Spain because of the pandemic.

"Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists," Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters.

She said Spain would try to persuade Britain to exclude the Balearic and Canary Islands from the quarantine measure, contending that the prevalence of the virus in the two popular travel destinations was much lower than in Britain itself.

A year ago, Britons made up about one-fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, meaning the British quarantine could deal a blow to the Mediterranean country's efforts to jumpstart its economy after months of lockdown because of the virus.

But the number of cases has risen in Spain in the last few weeks, prompting Britain to announce late Saturday it was taking Spain off its safe-travel list. Hours later, the quarantine took effect.

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