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Global COVID Cases Pass 76 Million

A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a man, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at market area in the old quarters of Delhi, India, Dec. 19, 2020.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said early Sunday there are 76.3 million global COVID-19 cases.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in case numbers at 17.6 million, followed by India with 10 million and Brazil with 7.2 million.

U.S. lawmakers are expected to vote Sunday on a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package. The package includes, among other things, $300 supplemental unemployment benefits and $600 direct stimulus payments to many Americans.

“We can’t continue with Christmas as planned,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday as he announced new restrictions for London and southern England, where a mutant strain of the coronavirus is spreading and where there is now a virtual lockdown, with people urged to stay home.

All nonessential stores in the region are set to close, and people should not enter or leave the British capital or large parts of southeastern England.

South Korea recorded 1,097 new infections Sunday, the fifth consecutive day it recorded more than 1,000 new cases.

A South Korean Justice Ministry official said an outbreak at a prison in Seoul has infected 184 prisoners and one worker.

Starting Monday, the Australian states of Victoria and Queensland are banning people arriving from Sydney, where a 70-person coronavirus cluster has emerged in its northern beach suburbs which have now been placed under a strict lockdown until Christmas Eve.

Thailand said Sunday it will test more than 10,000 people in the southwestern province of Samu Sakhon after a daily surge of more than 500.