Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, Aug. 8

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TOKYO -- The confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 1,565 to reach 47,464 as of Saturday evening, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities, with prefectural governors discouraging people to visit their hometowns during the Bon Festival season.

The figure excludes the 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo. The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus currently stands at a total of 1,055 people, including 13 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. (Japan-COVID-19)

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NEW DELHI -- The death toll in Friday evening's plane crash in south India has risen to 18, including the two pilots, as two investigating teams have reached the site to find out the exact reason of the mishap.

Confirming the number of deaths, the country's Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday tweeted, "18 people, including two pilots, have lost their lives, it is unfortunate. 127 people are at hospitals, others have been released." (India-Plane crash-Toll)

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KABUL -- An estimated 10 million Afghans have contracted with COVID-19 since the pandemic started spreading nationwide in February, the county's Ministry of Public Health said in a statement reaching Xinhua on Sunday.

According to findings of a national survey conducted by the ministry and based on antibody tests applied on 9,514 people and technically supported by World Health Organization (WHO), in 34 Afghan provinces, 10 million people, making nearly one third of the country's population, have infected with the disease. (Afghanistan-Pandemic)

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HONG KONG -- Various sectors in Hong Kong on Saturday strongly condemned the so-called U.S. sanctions against heads of Chinese government agencies responsible for Hong Kong affairs and officials of the HKSAR, saying the move is groundless and interfering in China's internal affairs.

A statement issued by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said that the U.S. government's accusations against the officials related is totally groundless and arbitrary. (Hong Kong-So-called U.S. sanctions) Enditem

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