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NEW DELHI — India has confirmed another record jump in coronavirus cases, logging 97,894 cases in the past 24 hours.

The Health Ministry said Thursday that the new cases raised the nation’s confirmed total to more than 5.1 million since the pandemic began. It said 1,132 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 83,198.

At the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to surpass the 6.6 million reported cases in the United States, currently the country with the most reported infections.

Nationwide, India is testing more than 1 million samples per day.

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

— Trump disputes health officials, sees mass vaccinations soon

— New companies face tough task overcoming pandemic, recession

— Hawaii to allow travelers to skip quarantine with virus test

— UK to ration COVID-19 testing amid testing failures

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. humanitarian chief says reports from inside Syria point to “a much broader spread” of COVID-19 cases than the 3,628 confirmed cases conveys.

Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the extent of the outbreak won’t be known until laboratory testing is increased across the country.

He said: “We do know that community transmission is widespread, as almost 90% of newly confirmed cases cannot be traced to a known source.”

He added: “Infection rates among health workers have also been rising.”

Lowcock said even before the pandemic, Syria had a shortage of health workers, and supply shortages and temporary shutdowns have added “even more pressure to the decimated health system.”

He said on Aug. 27 the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among residents at two camps for the displaced in the northeast, al-Hol and Areesha. He said five health care workers at a field hospital in al-Hol had tested positive in the previous weeks.

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HONOLULU — Hawaii’s governor says that starting Oct. 15, travelers arriving from out of state may bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that travelers will have to take the test within 72 hours before their flight arrives in the islands. Ige says drug store operator CVS and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente will conduct the tests.

The state has previously delayed the start of the pre-travel testing program twice as COVID-19 cases spiked on the U.S. mainland and in Hawaii.

Leaders hope pre-travel testing will encourage tourists to return while keeping residents safe. Tourism traffic to the state has plunged more than 90% during the pandemic, closing hundreds of hotels and putting many people out of work.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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California to Use Market Power in Bid to Lower Drug Costs

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will attempt to use its massive market power to increase the availability and lower the cost of prescription drugs under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday.

The new law requires the California Health and Human Services Agency to create partnerships designed to increase competition, lower prices and reduce shortages for generic prescription drugs.

Newsom said the measure brings the state “one step closer” to his January budget proposal for California to eventually create its own generic label.

The new law “will help inject competition back into the generic drug marketplace — taking pricing power away from big pharmaceutical companies and returning it to consumers," Newsom said.

He said the most populous state has started to identify certain medications and develop a plan to promote its manufacturing and purchasing. The agency will look for drugs that could produce the biggest cost savings.

California is switching all Medi-Cal pharmacy services next year from managed care to direct state payment, which he said will also boost the state's ability to negotiate better drug prices.

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The bill is SB 852

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: California

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