PARIS: More than 600,000 cases of the COVID-19 have been officially recorded around the world since the outbreak of the epidemic, according to an AFP tally on Saturday (Mar 28).

There were 605,010 cases of infection with 27,982 deaths in 183 countries and territories.

The United States had 104,837 cases of which 1,711 were fatal. Italy had the highest number of deaths at 9,134 and a total of 86,498 cases.

In Spain, the death toll surged to 5,690 on Saturday after a record 832 people died in 24 hours, and the number of infections soared to 72,248, the government said.

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China, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 81,394 cases and 3,295 deaths.

Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday – a 64-year-old man who was the country’s 25th confirmed COVID-19 case.

The man had travelled to Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur but did not take part in a huge Islamic gathering in the Malaysian capital last month that has been linked to infections across the region, authorities said.

It came as Malaysia, which has recorded 2,320 cases, received tens of thousands of virus test kits, masks and items of protective clothing from China, and 200 ventilators.

READ: Iran coronavirus death toll tops 2,500

The COVID-19 figures represent only a fraction of the number of infections as many countries only carry out tests on suspected cases if they are hospitalised.

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million.

People are now allowed to enter the city but not leave. AFP saw crowds of passengers arriving at Wuhan railway station on Saturday, most wheeling suitcases alongside them.

The metropolis in Hubei province was placed under lockdown in January with its outskirts ring-fenced by roadblocks and drastic restrictions on daily life.

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A top Asian security conference that gathers defence ministers – including from the US and China – and senior military officials was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, held annually since 2002, had been scheduled for early June in Singapore with more than 40 countries set to participate.

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