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A woman wearing a face mask passes by a mural featuring William Hanna and Joseph Barbera' s characters Tom & Jerry mentioning the safe distance to be held from each other - One meter - in Rome, Friday, May 15, 2020 - Sputnik International

COVID-19 Live Updates: Italy Will Allow In-and-Out Travel Starting 3 June

The global pandemic is still ongoing, with more than 4,500,000 infected and over 307,000 fatalities globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States remains the worst-hit country, confirming over 1.4 million cases, of which more than 87,500 have died from COVID-19.

In the meantime, Russia has surpassed the United Kingdom in terms of infections, occupying second place in the list of most affected countries, with over 262,000 cases reported. However, the nation has one of the lowest death tolls among countries hit by the virus, with only 2,418 fatalities. Great Britain, meanwhile, has reported at least 34,078 deaths from the coronavirus.

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02:30 GMT 16.05.2020

According to the Health Ministry's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), out of 19 new cases, nine resulted from the internal transmission. The plurality of new cases, five ones, has been recorded in Seoul while four more in the province of Gyeonggi.

The death toll has risen by two to 262 people over the past day. The number of recovered people has reached 9,851.


The country has conducted more than 711,000 coronavirus tests, with the results of 18,343 tests being processed now.

02:11 GMT 16.05.2020

According to the National Health Commission, two new cases, which were recorded in the province of Jilin, resulted from the internal transmission, while the other six cases are imported ones (five in Shanghai and one more on the island of Hainan). The authorities also reported about 13 new asymptomatic cases.

“The National Health Commission received information about 82,941 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus from 31 provinces [regions and municipalities], including 89 currently ill people. 11 people are in critical condition, 4,633 have died, 78,219 people have been discharged from hospitals", the commission said in a statement.

The number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong stands at 1,052 people, with four patients having died and 1,019 more having been discharged from hospitals. Forty-five people have been infected with the disease in Macao, with 43 of them having been released from medical facilities. The number of infected people in Taiwan amounts to 440, with seven of them having died and 387 others recovered.

02:10 GMT 16.05.2020

Bavaria has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases - 45,340, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (36,065) and Baden-Wurttemberg (33,893). Berlin has registered a total of 6,428 infections.

02:08 GMT 16.05.2020

"On the second day in a row, we have discovered more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19, even though these 2,437 cases mean only a 5.7-percent increase", the health ministry's director of epidemiology, Jose Luis Alomia, said in a televised address on late Friday.

Within the same period of time, the death toll has increased by 290 to 4,767 people.

00:29 GMT 16.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Italian government is going to lift a coronavirus-linked ban on trips between the country's regions as well as traveling abroad starting from 3 June, the Council of Ministers said on Saturday in a statement.

According to the government's statement, starting from 18 May, there will be no restrictions on the movement within Italian regions. At the same time, Italian citizens will not be allowed to use public transport or personal vehicles outside regions of residence until 3 June. Journeys to and from foreign countries will be banned until the same date.

22:45 GMT 15.05.2020

RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 15,305 to 218,223 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.

The death toll has risen by 824 to 14,817 people within the same period of time.

A day earlier, Brazil reported about 13,944 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 844 new fatalities.

20:57 GMT 15.05.2020

"Since 1 March, we have mourned 27,529 deaths that are related to COVID-19 — 17,342 deaths were registered in hospitals and 10,187 in social and medical institutions", the National Public Health Service (DGS) said on Friday.

Over 19,000 patients remain in hospitals, and 2,203 of them are in critical condition, according to health authorities. At the same time, more than 60,000 people have fully recovered.

Meanwhile, France's coronavirus case count increased by 563 over the given period and reached 141,919, according to the data collected by the DGS.

20:35 GMT 15.05.2020

"Another 74 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow", the city's coronavirus response centre said in a statement on Friday.

In the previous day, 68 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

20:21 GMT 15.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Over 90,000 coronavirus infection cases have been confirmed worldwide over the past 24 hours, and more than 5,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the given period, the World Health Organisation said.

The global case count has increased by 90,269 to a cumulative total of 4,338,658 cases, according to the latest situation report.

The death toll has increased by 5,073 in the 24-hour period to late Friday, taking the total to 297,119 fatalities.

The plurality of cases — over 1.86 million — remain concentrated in North and Central America. The United States continues being the country with the highest single count of cases (1.36 million) and fatalities (82,119).

19:50 GMT 15.05.2020

"Today, we identified 1,708 new cases, the total number increased to 146,457. We lost 48 patients today, and the death toll stands at 4,055", Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

19:32 GMT 15.05.2020

"I have to say that closing the museums was quite simple, but their reopening in an emergency medical situation is not simple at all. We worked day and night, and despite serious difficulties, some of our famous museums will already receive their first visitors on the International Museum Day, which is celebrated on 18 May. As for most national museums, they will open on 2 June, when Italy will celebrate the Republic Day", Director-General of Museums at the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism Antonio Lampis said on Friday.

Among museums that will resume operations on 18 May are the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum in southern Italy, the director-general said.

At the same time, Lampis added that the process of opening museums was complicated by a number of problems that were not directly related to the current pandemic. In particular, there is a serious shortage of personnel, and primarily museum keepers, who are mainly old people, and therefore, cannot work amid the coronavirus.

18:54 GMT 15.05.2020

LONDON (Sputnik) - A further 384 people have died as a result of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom over the past 24 hours, a drop of 44 in the daily rise to the death toll compared to the previous day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday, adding that the UK has passed the peak of the outbreak.

"The number of deaths is falling each day in all settings thankfully, and we are past the peak of this virus", Hancock stated.

According to public health authorities, the total UK COVID-19 death toll now stands at 33,998, although the Office of National Statistics has claimed that this figure may have already exceeded 40,000.

Despite the fall in deaths, 3,560 new cases of the disease were reported on Friday, up from the 3,446 new positive tests confirmed on Thursday.

18:37 GMT 15.05.2020

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - Beaches in the US states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will open on May 22 for Memorial Day weekend with a limited capacity amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing.

"New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware will all be opening beaches for the Memorial Day weekend", Cuomo told reports on Friday. "But [at] no more than 50 percent capacity".

Cuomo noted that local governments can still make their own decisions regarding whether to open beaches.

Earlier on Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will not be opening its beaches because it is not ready to implement such a measure.

Cuomo said, any contact activities, including beach volleyball and football, will not be allowed.

Playgrounds, amusement rides and designated picnic areas will be closed for the purpose of social distancing, Cuomo said.

When social distancing is not possible, all visitors will have to wear face-coverings on the beach, Cuomo also said, adding that pools across the four states will remain closed.

18:14 GMT 15.05.2020
17:15 GMT 15.05.2020

GAZA (Sputnik) - The Palestinian Authority has registered six new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, and the total number reached 554 amid a current state of emergency, Health Minister Mai Kaila said at a briefing on Friday.

"Six new cases were detected in East Jerusalem, the total number of cases increased to 554 [in the PA]", Kaila said.

According to the minister, 431 people have already recovered. East Jerusalem has been the most affected, while the Gaza Strip has only six active cases at the moment, Kaila added.

Earlier in May, President Mahmoud Abbas extended the coronavirus-fuelled state of emergency until 5 June.

17:14 GMT 15.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich has resigned after being in office for less than a month, causing further agitation to President Jair Bolsonaro's heavily criticized approach to dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday, citing a WhatsApp message from the Health Ministry.

The worsening epidemiological situation in the country and the authorities' handling of the coronavirus have triggered a strong backlash among the leadership, as Bolsonaro continues to underestimate the threat posed by the pandemic. In particular, the president has repeatedly dismissed the coronavirus as "the flu" and has continued to meet the public after a trip to the United States in March, which saw 20 members of his delegation contract COVID-19.

According to the newspaper, Teich has submitted his resignation, as he disagrees with Bolsonaro's response policy. In particular, he opposed the wider use of malaria drug chloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, on which the president insisted, and the reopening of gyms, beauty salons and hairdressers as part of efforts to relax stringent measures and revive the economy, considering it premature.

Teich became the second Brazilian health minister to resign amid the ongoing pandemic, after replacing Nelson Mandetta, who also opposed Bolsonaro's decisions regarding the social isolation measures.

Brazil is now the sixth worst-hit country in terms of the number of coronavirus cases, with nearly 208,000 people infected with the virus as of Friday. The death toll has so far reached 14,267, according to Johns Hopkins University.

17:13 GMT 15.05.2020

"In late April, the Russian side received a request from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to assist in disinfection and consulting at the University Clinical Hospital Mostar", the Russian Foreign Ministry said recalled.

In fact, it was proposed to use the experience of specialized teams of Russian military doctors who performed similar tasks in Italy, Serbia and BiH's Republika Srpska affected by the coronavirus.

"This request was considered, and on the instructions of the top leadership of our country, the corresponding contingent of military medics of the Russian Defence Ministry with necessary equipment was ready to arrive in Mostar promptly in early May. Unfortunately, the implementation of these plans was hindered either by the lack of readiness or inconsistency of the BiH administration: the necessary permits were not issued to Russian military doctors. As a result, residents of BiH were left without the long-awaited help", the ministry said.

"We want to believe that in the fight against coronavirus, the main motive for critical decisions of all interested parties and political circles will be saving lives. We cannot achieve this goal without the cohesion of resources. There is no room for unscrupulous geopolitical games. Russia has repeatedly shown in practice its readiness for joint efforts and remains committed to this principled position in the face of the still dangerous infection threat", it stressed.

16:00 GMT 15.05.2020

Nearly sixty percent of Americans are afraid of bringing COVID-19 back home from work, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll revealed on Friday.

According to the poll, 58% of Americans fear getting infected at work and then exposing their households to COVID-19.

Hispanic and black Americans, women and Democrats are most concerned about these issues, the poll showed.

Several US states are reopening although many fear premature moves could cause COVID-19 to spike. The United States has more than 1.42 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 86,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

15:52 GMT 15.05.2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch a platform to share data about health tools that can be used to in the coronavirus response, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, President @CarlosAlvQ asked me to set up a health technology repository for vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and any other tool that may work against #COVID19""WHO has accepted this visionary proposal and will, in the next few weeks, launch a platform for open, collaborative sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property on existing and new health tools to combat #COVID19"," Tedros told a virtual briefing as quoted on the WHO official Twitter.

Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said a call-to-action for WHO-led platform for intellectual property sharing was scheduled for May 29

15:43 GMT 15.05.2020

Cinemas in Austria will resume operations starting on 1 July, as the country is seeing improvements in the epidemiological situation, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said on Friday.

Cultural events involving up to 100 people will restart starting on 29 May, and those attracting up to 250 people will be resumed on 1 July, provided that there is a special coronavirus watchdog present, and participants wear face masks and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter.

"On 1 July, cinemas with the same permissible number of spectators will open", Anschober said at a press conference.

The minister added that starting 1 August, the authorities would allow events involving up to 500 people.

Austria has confirmed over 16,000 cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began, recording a peak in the daily increase in late March. Since 17 April, the daily increase has been staying below 100. To date, the death toll has reached 628.

Given the improving situation, Austria has begun to gradually suspend the restrictive measures. All shops, hairdressers and beauty salons have already opened. The self-isolation regime was canceled on May 1, however, in public places, it is necessary to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

15:42 GMT 15.05.2020

The US economy is still in a freefall despite the fact most states in the United States have started to reopen from lockdowns imposed over the novel coronavirus pandemic, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday.

"We're essentially still in a freefall because of the economy, there's no question about that," Kudlow told a Fox Business interview. "The pandemic’s contraction and Q2 is going to be very difficult."

Kudlow’s comments came as data revealed on Friday that US retail sales fell 16.4 percent in April due to the economy being effectively grind to a halt by the lockdowns and other restrictive measures imposed against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The US economy shrank 4.8 percent in the first three months of 2020 for the sharpest economic decline since the Great Recession of 2008. While nearly all 50 states in America have reopened their economies in one way or another over the past two weeks, economists have warned of a sharp recession by the second quarter.

Kudlow said there were some "glimmers of hope" for the US economy, but these would not really slow the slide for now.

"We haven’t turned the corner yet on unemployment claims," Kudlow said, referring to the 36 million jobs lost over the past two months. "I was looking through the continuing claims and they look a little lighter or lower than people might have thought. But they've been in a pretty steady downtrend for the past six or seven weeks and they're still bad numbers and they're still heartbreak numbers, hardship numbers."

15:16 GMT 15.05.2020

Roughly 15 percent of the United Kingdom’s frontline workers are at risk of becoming critically ill should they contract COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) said Friday.

The ONS cited government guidance stating that those with health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes are at increased risk from the coronavirus disease. Based on data recorded in 2019, this would put 15 percent of the UK’s 10.6 million frontline workers at risk, the ONS said.

This figure includes nearly 19 percent of workers in national and local government bodies, the ONS said, adding that heart conditions were the most commonly reported issue.

Those at moderate risk from COVID-19 have been advised to leave their homes as infrequently as possible, according to public health officials in the UK.

However, as part of new government guidance announced on Sunday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, workers at moderate risk have been told to begin returning to their jobs if they are unable to work from home.

On Monday, the ONS stated that 131 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among social care workers as of April 20.

15:15 GMT 15.05.2020

The US Department of Defense reported on Friday 77 new coronavirus cases among US service members, their families and civilian workers.

The cumulative number of cases now stands at 8,374 with no new deaths, the Defense Department said in a release.

The deaths tally still stands at 27, the release said.

A total of 275 infected individuals have been hospitalized for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and nearly 3,950 have recovered, the release said.

Of the 77 new cases, 26 were reported among US service members, bringing the total to 5,526, the release said.

To date, 120 US service members have been hospitalized and 2,550 have recovered, the release added.

15:11 GMT 15.05.2020

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore has increased by 793 to 26,891, the Health Ministry said on Friday, as the country begins to ease the lockdown measures introduced over the coronavirus.

"As of 15 May 2020, 12 pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed an additional 793 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore, the vast majority of whom are Work Permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. There is one Singaporean/ Permanent Resident case," the ministry said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the authorities partially eased the lockdown measures, allowing certain businesses to operate within strict guidelines.

14:02 GMT 15.05.2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, countries all over the world have adopted tough restrictions to stop the virus from spreading, weakening their economies in the process. Beginning this month, many countries are trying to gradually exit the lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the disease.

TEHRAN (Sputnik) - The daily increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Iran has for the first time in more than a month exceeded 2,000, Kianush Jahanpur, the spokesman for the Iranian Health Ministry, said on Friday.

"Over the past day, we detected 2,102 new COVID-19 cases. The total number of those infected has reached 116,635. A total of 91,836 people have recovered", Jahanpur said live on the IRINN TV channel.

The last time that the daily increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in Iran exceeded 2,000 was on 7 April.

According to the spokesman, patients in 80 percent of the new cases have mild or medium symptoms of the disease.

He added that 48 patients have died over the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 6,902.

13:53 GMT 15.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Anna Popova, the head of Russia's public health watchdog, expressed the belief on Friday that the coronavirus situation in the country is stabilising.

"It seems that the situation is stabilising in the country. At the same time, we cannot calm down and relax all the regimes at the same time [in Russia's regions]", Popova said at a meeting on the opening of the Russian Defence Ministry's centres for COVID-19 patients.

11:58 GMT 15.05.2020
11:50 GMT 15.05.2020

"It could lead to some of the measures being eased at different rates in different parts of the country and at the same time it could lead to some measures being re-imposed in some parts of the country but not in others", the prime minister's spokesman said.

"I'm not aware of any plans at the moment to do that in regards to schools".

11:31 GMT 15.05.2020

BEIJING (Sputnik) - China strongly supports Russia's efforts to combat the coronavirus and believes that the international community should unite to defeat the pandemic together, rather than look for those responsible for the outbreak or rush to conclusions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday, commenting on media's allegations that Russia has been manipulating its COVID-19 statistics.

"The Chinese side has noticed that some Western media are trying to hype the issue of the COVID-19 death rate in Russia, while the Russian Federation has clearly indicated its position on this matter. China strongly supports Russia's efforts in the fight against coronavirus and believes that under the strong leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian people will be able to achieve victory in the fight against the pandemic", Zhao said during a briefing.

According to the spokesman, China believes that cooperation, solidarity, and mutual support are the most powerful weapons against the common enemy.

Zhao added that in order to overcome the current difficulties, the international community should join forces "instead of drawing hasty conclusions and blaming others".

11:17 GMT 15.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The White House is preparing an executive order that will require that the production of essential drugs be transferred to the United States, CNBC reported, citing informed sources.

According to the US broadcaster's Thursday report, the executive order may be published on Friday.

President Donald Trump's assistant and adviser, Peter Navarro, previously said that Washington was preparing a package of measures to stimulate the domestic pharmaceutical industry. According to him, the plan prescribes some changes in the approval process for domestic drugs by regulatory authorities, as well as encourages government agencies to purchase medical products manufactured in the United States.

The broadcaster notes that an October 2019 congressional testimony by Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research, could have become a trigger for this executive order. Woodcock, in particular, said that 72 percent of pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers supplying the United States were located overseas, including 13 percent in China.

09:53 GMT 15.05.2020

MOSCOW, May 15 (Sputnik) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that the country would allocate $30.8 million to provide mental health assistance to citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the prime minister's office, the country has seen a 25-56 percent increase in calls to its crisis and support services, compared to the same time last year.

"We also today adopted the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan put together by [CEO of the National Mental Health Commission] Christine Morgan, working closely together with the states and territories. And today we are committing $48.1 million [Australian] dollars in additional support for the implementation of that plan", Morrison said, following a meeting of the National Cabinet, as quoted by his website.

The allocated funds will be used to improve mental health research in the country, as well as to support vulnerable groups.

"There have been over 7,000 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 98 people have died. There are now less than 1,000 active cases in Australia, and over the past week, daily infection rates have remained low. Testing remains high, with more than 950,000 tests undertaken in Australia", the office of the prime minister said in a statement.

The country's human biosecurity emergency regime has been extended from 17 June to 17 September.

09:40 GMT 15.05.2020

BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Slovenia has declared an end to the coronavirus pandemic at home, becoming the first European country to do so, and will reopen its borders to EU nationals, its government said on Friday.

"The government... cancelled the [declaration of] the SARS-CoV-2 Infectious Disease Epidemic (COVID-19), which was declared on 12 March", the press release read.

The national public health institute estimates that the spread of the virus in the local population has slowed down. The EU country has so far confirmed 1,465 cases and 103 deaths, with only one person falling ill in the past day.

The country will allow EU citizens to cross over from Austria, Italy, and Hungary at designated checkpoints. Nationals of non-EU countries will be put in a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Slovenia also plans to reopen shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, and hotels on Monday.

09:25 GMT 15.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has registered 10,598 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (9,974 yesterday), with the total count now reaching 262,843, the national coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

Prior to that, the country's daily increase in COVID-19 cases fell for three days in a row.

"Over the past 24 hours, 10,598 COVID-19 cases have been registered in 85 regions. Of these, 4,504 (or 42.5 percent) have been detected with people showing no clinical symptoms", the centre said in a statement.

This brings the total tally to 262,843 (+4.2 percent) in 85 regions across Russia.

Of the new cases, 4,748 were registered in Moscow, 945 in the Moscow Region, and 541 in St. Petersburg (compared to yesterday's 4,712, 918, and 460, respectively).

The country's COVID-19 death toll has increased by 113 (93 yesterday) to 2,418.

As many as 4,696 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Russia over the past 24 hours (5,527 yesterday), bringing the total number of cured people to 58,226.

07:34 GMT 15.05.2020

BEIJING, May 15 (Sputnik) - China has never received any request from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to attend any laboratory in the country, therefore claims about China's denial of access to the laboratory in Wuhan are not true, the ombudsman of the international affairs department of China's National Health Commission said on Friday.

"The WHO has never sent any request to attend any lab, so claims of our denial to the WHO access to Wuhan are not true", Li Mingzhu said at a briefing, when asked whether China has denied access to the Wuhan laboratory.

06:56 GMT 15.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Over 6.4 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the outbreak, and 256,000 people across the country remain under medical observation as suspected carriers, the national public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said on Friday.

"Over 6.4 million coronavirus tests have been conducted in the Russian Federation. As many as 256,000 people are under medical observation", Rospotrebnadzor said.

A total of 225,000 tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours, the watchdog specified.

Russia has confirmed over 252,000 COVID-19 cases so far. The daily increase in the number of coronavirus patients has been dropping over the past three days.

06:18 GMT 15.05.2020
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04:31 GMT 15.05.2020

The number of people becoming infected with coronavirus each day in London has fallen to 24, Public Health England and the University of Cambridge's MRC Biostatistics Unit stated.

The reproductive rate of the virus across England is now around 0.75, while, according to the cabinet, a rate of 1.0 or below is a requirement for the continued easing of lockdown measures in the coming weeks.

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