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COVID-19 cases spike in South Korea, Russia, Iran as global deaths pass 360K

By
Don Jacobson
Foreign correspondents undergo a COVID-19 infection test by Chinese doctors wearing hazmat suits at the closing ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Foreign correspondents undergo a COVID-19 infection test by Chinese doctors wearing hazmat suits at the closing ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) -- South Korea struggled to contain a spike in new COVID-19 cases while Iran and Russia each logged significantly higher numbers Friday as the worldwide death toll from the pandemic surpassed 360,000.

In South Korea, health officials reported more than 50 new virus cases for a second consecutive day, following a two-month high of 79 new cases.

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The developments put more pressure on the government to reimpose widespread quarantine restrictions in the densely populated capital of Seoul, where most of the new cases were tied to an outbreak at a logistics center.

Following six weeks of strict lockdowns, South Korea eased the rules on May 6, allowing residents to engage in normal life, albeit with guidelines.

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But those guidelines were tightened for Seoul beginning Friday and lasting through June 14. They include the closing of some schools, as well as parks, art galleries and museums.

Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said the next two weeks will be used to gauge if the latest spike can be brought under control in the capital and if a reimposition of widespread lockdowns is needed.

The worldwide death toll reached 360,000, according to disease trackers at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Well over 5.4 million cases around the world had been recorded as of Friday morning.

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In Russia, health officials on Friday reported the biggest single-day COVID-19 death toll so far during the pandemic.

Some 232 coronavirus patients died during the previous 24 hours, they said, pushing the country's total death toll to more than 4,300.

More than 8,500 new infections were confirmed. At nearly 388,000, Russia has the third-highest reported total in the world after the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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In Iran, the health ministry reported the sharpest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since April.

More than 2,800 new cases were recorded on Thursday, bringing the nation's total caseload to nearly 147,000. About 2,500 of them are in serious condition.

Fifty more deaths were registered, raising Iran's death toll to 7,677.

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Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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