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Asia Today: India passes 300,000 cases with single-day high

BEIJING – India reported more than 11,000 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, another single-day high for the country, as it passed the grim milestone of 300,000 cases.

The Health Ministry reported 11,458 new cases, driving the toll to 308,993, the fourth-highest in the world. It also reported 386 deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 8,884.

India’s caseload has jumped by about 100,000 in a week, coinciding with the reopening of shopping malls, houses of worship and restaurants. The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown in late March.

In New Delhi, the capital, most public hospitals are full, and crematoriums and graveyards are struggling to manage a rash of bodies.

New Delhi’s government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

BEIJING LOCKS DOWN COMMUNITIES: The Chinese capital has locked down 11 residential communities near a wholesale food market to try to stem a new outbreak of COVID-19. Beijing officials said Saturday that 45 workers at the Xinfadi market tested positive for the coronavirus, though they showed no symptoms. That was in addition to seven earlier cases of people with symptoms, including six who had visited or worked at the market. Forty environmental samples taken at the market also tested positive, city officials said. The Beijing News newspaper said in a social media post that Communist Party members and volunteers were being organized to shop for food and other daily necessities for the affected residents. The city, which had not had a locally transmitted infection in more 50 days, reversed some recent moves to relax coronavirus restrictions.

SOUTH KOREA REPORTS 49 NEW CASES: South Korea reported 49 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, most of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health authorities have been struggling to slow transmissions linked to entertainment and leisure activities, church gatherings and low-income workers who couldn’t afford to stay home. The country has confirmed a total of 12,051 cases and 277 deaths. Authorities said 44 of the new cases were reported from the greater capital area, which is home to half of the country’s 51 million people. The head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pleaded with residents to stay home over the weekend, saying there was “high concern” that increased public activity would lead to a massive circulation of the virus.

— HONG KONG'S OCEAN PARK REOPENS: Hong Kong's Ocean Park reopened after more than four months amid virus fears. Measures to guard against COVID-19 include limiting the amusement park's capacity to 9,000 guests per day for the first two weeks. The park requests all guests to wear a mask and undergo temperature checks before entering. Hand sanitizers are also being distributed. The animal and nature-themed attraction combines pandas, penguins, roller coasters and other rides, and has been a Hong Kong icon since 1977. Even before the pandemic, Ocean Park was on the slide, begging the government for more money to survive. At the end of May, lawmakers agreed to give it 5.4 billion Hong Kong dollars ($7 million) to stay afloat for a year.

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

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This story corrects in the China section that six of the seven people with symptoms had visited or worked at the market, not all seven.