China reports highest coronavirus case rise for two months as lockdowns ease globally

Parts of Beijing remain under "wartime" lockdown after a new outbreak at a market.
Image: CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
A health care worker wearing a protective suit takes a swab test from a man at Guangan Sport Center in Beijing for people who visited or live near the Xinfadi market.NOEL CELIS / AFP - Getty Images

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By Isobel van Hagen

China reported its highest daily rise in new coronavirus cases for two months Sunday as parts of the capital, Beijing, remained under lockdown following an outbreak at a wholesale market.

Health officials reported 57 new cases less than 24 hours after one district put itself on a "wartime" footing Saturday following a cluster of around 50 infections at the Xinfadi market.

The cluster, the capital's first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months, raised mainland China's total number to 83,132. Almost 4,700 people have died in China, where the pandemic originated in December.

Paramilitary police stand guard near the Xinfadi wholesale food market district in Beijing on Saturday, June 13, 2020.Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Infections in South Korea are also on the rise after lockdowns were eased because of a highly praised testing and tracing campaign. Health officials reported 34 more cases Sunday, adding to a recent upward trend. The country has reported 12,085 cases.

Officials said 30 were in the greater Seoul area, where half the country's 51 million people live. The new cases have been linked to nightclub-goers, church services, an e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers.

As a result, the government has started to retighten preventive measures, pleading with the public to wear masks and avoid attending public meetings.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Elsewhere, the pandemic continues to rage in South America and India.

With almost 43,000 deaths, Brazil is second only to the U.S., according to John Hopkins University data.

A quarantine worker sprays disinfectants at nightspots in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea, on May 11, 2020, following a virus outbreak.Yonhap / Reuters

In nearby Chile, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich resigned Saturday amid controversy over the country's death toll, which has topped 3,100, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

India also reported its biggest single-day jump in virus cases Saturday, with 11,458 new infections, taking its total to more than 300,000, according to data from the health ministry.

As the total of global cases approached 7.8 million on Sunday, some European Union nations plan to reopen their internal borders Monday after the bloc's executive arm urged a relaxation of restrictions.

Nonessential businesses are set to reopen in the U.K. on Monday provided they are able to meet COVID-19 guidelines. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is eager to restart an economy that has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown in March.

Elsewhere, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain all began relaxing their rules, loosening their limits on public gatherings, while restaurants and bars reopened.

States across the U.S. have also been gradually reopening, but after a spike in cases, Utah and Oregon suspended reopening their economies further. Badly hit New York City emerged from its lockdown last week, with thousands of people returning to work.

Stella Kim, Eric Baculinao, Vivi Wu and Associated Press contributed.