Modi urges Indians to keep up masks, distancing

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says laxity could lead to a new surge in infections, as authorities reported 54,044 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally past 7.6 million.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 717 additional deaths for a total of 115,914.

The death toll and new cases have been on the decline in India since last month. But Modi is urging people to continue wearing masks and observing social distancing until a vaccine is available.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the ongoing religious festival season that includes huge gatherings in temples and shopping districts.


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

— Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus

— From Detroit to Oakland, pandemic threatens urban renewal

— McConnell warns White House against COVID relief deal

— Some teenage girls in Nairobi have turned to sex work to help feed their families. They cannot remember how many men they have had to sleep with since their schools closed this year.

— South Korea may be one of the world’s most wired nations, but remote learning is a challenge for many students and is particularly worrisome in a country so obsessed with education that 70% of high school graduates attend university.

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is imposing strict coronavirus restrictions on England’s second-largest urban area, after talks with officials in Greater Manchester collapsed over how much financial aid should be handed to people whose livelihoods will be hit by the new measures.

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Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian authorities say they’re treating a COVID-19 case in the city of Melbourne as a rare reinfection.

The only coronavirus case reported in the former hot spot of Victoria state on Tuesday had also tested positive to COVID-19 in July.

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said Wednesday an expert panel had decided to classify the case as a reinfection rather than shedding viral remnants of the July infection.

Andrews says the classification reflected “an abundance of caution” rather than conclusive evidence. He assumed further testing would be conducted into the case in search of a definitive result.

Melbourne has been in lockdown since early July, but restrictions in Australia’s second-largest city are easing this week as daily infection tallies remain low.

Victoria reported three new cases on Wednesday. The state’s second wave peaked at 725 new infections in a day in early August.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Eighteen fishing crewmen who last week flew to New Zealand from Moscow have tested positive for the coronavirus, underscoring the difficulty New Zealand faces in trying to import needed workers while remaining virtually virus free.

A total of 235 crew from Russia and Ukraine were on the flight chartered by three fishing companies. Before leaving Moscow, they were supposed to have self-isolated

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