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story.lead_photo.caption Passengers arrive Sunday at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain. The country opened its borders to European tourists on Sunday in an effort to kickstart its economy. More photos at arkan- sasonline.com/622covid/.
(AP/Bernat Armangue)

GENEVA -- The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases by its count -- more than 183,000.

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More than two-thirds of those new deaths were reported in the Americas. The United Nations health agency said Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases and the U.S. was next with 36,617.

In Spain, officials ended a national state of emergency after three months of lockdown, allowing its 47 million residents to freely travel around the country for the first time since March. The country also dropped a 14-day quarantine for visitors from Britain and the 26 European countries that allow visa-free travel.

But there was only a trickle of travelers at Madrid-Barajas Airport, which on a normal June day would be bustling.

"This freedom that we now have, not having to justify our journey to see our family and friends, this was something that we were really looking forward to," Pedro Delgado, 23, said after arriving from Spain's Canary Islands.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged people to take maximum precautions: "The virus can return and it can hit us again in a second wave, and we have to do whatever we can to avoid that at all cost."

'SLOW TESTING DOWN'

In the U.S., President Donald Trump's Saturday night remark that he asked officials to "slow the testing down" led to rebukes from experts and frustration from his own staffers, who say it undercuts their efforts to reassure Americans as the disease surges across the country.

The comment, which came on the same day that eight states reported their highest single-day case counts, drew a chorus of criticism from congressional Democrats and public health officials, who worry the president is more concerned with saving face than combating the pandemic.

"Looking at it as a scoreboard is the wrong way to think about it," said Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "To think of it as something you can manipulate or slow down based on what the numbers look like speaks to a complete misunderstanding of what an infectious-disease response should be."

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In Tulsa, in his first campaign appearance since the virus hit the U.S., Trump called testing -- which public health experts say is a crucial part of controlling the pandemic -- a "double-edged sword."

"Here's the bad part ... when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people; you're going to find more cases," Trump told his supporters. "So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please."

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said during a Sunday appearance on CBS News' Face the Nation that the comments were rooted in Trump's frustration with the press.

"Instead of focusing on the actual progress that this administration has made in revamping an antiquated testing system and testing record millions of Americans, they're focused just on the rising case numbers," Wolfe said.

But behind the scenes, several senior administration officials involved in the coronavirus response expressed frustration with Trump's comments, given the administration's efforts to ramp up testing over the past few months.

One senior official described the coronavirus response as something of a political albatross. The person noted that administration officials and the vice president have been trying to convince the public that Trump is working tirelessly to stamp out the virus, and faster than ever before.

Trump's comment Saturday undermined that message.

"The president, or no one else for the matter, has ever told anyone to slow down testing," said one person involved in the coronavirus efforts, who was not authorized to speak publicly about administration efforts. "He was joking, but it's not helpful."

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Trump has long viewed the rising coronavirus numbers as a negative story line for him because he believes he will be blamed for more cases, and he associates a rising number of cases with bad publicity.

One administration official with knowledge of coronavirus discussions said Trump has been focused on the nation's increased testing capacity so he can brag about the numbers.

In recent weeks, the president has also made a concerted effort to play down the virus and "move on" to other topics, the two officials said, such as the economy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., condemned Trump's remarks Sunday, saying the American people "are owed answers about why President Trump wants less testing."

"Testing, tracing, treatment and social distancing are the only tools we have to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but President Trump orders his Administration to slow down the testing that saves lives," Pelosi said in a statement.

For months, Trump downplayed the threat of the virus and has grown impatient with a weekslong shutdown that cratered the economy and resulted in more than 40 million Americans losing their jobs.

Even as the number of deaths per day remains at about 800, Trump has encouraged states to reopen, told Americans to resume normal life and flouted his own government's advice to wear a mask while out in public.

Trump likes to say the pandemic is nearly over, calling outbreaks that arise "embers." Public health experts have disputed that.

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"We're still really early in this pandemic, and it is not helpful to create a mindset that we're almost done," said Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. "It's part of what we're seeing in terms of large outbreaks going on in Arizona, Texas and Florida, is people have gotten convinced the pandemic is over."

Experts widely agree that the pandemic is likely to surge again in the fall and will pose an extraordinary challenge to the U.S. health care system because the coronavirus will converge with the seasonal flu outbreak. Yet Trump continues to suggest otherwise and to complain about the few mechanisms his administration has to get the pandemic under control.

The U.S. has the world's highest number of reported infections, almost 2.3 million, and the highest death toll, about 120,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The virus appears to be spreading particularly across the West and the South. Arizona reported more than 3,100 new infections, just short of Friday's record, and 26 deaths. Nevada also reported a new high of 445 cases.

ITALY QUESTIONS WHO

In Italy, the Health Ministry is asking government advisers to evaluate new WHO recommendations, saying that people with covid-19 can come out of isolation before they test negative.

Previously, WHO recommended ending the isolation of infected people only after they twice tested negative on samples taken 24 hours apart. The change is significant given that many countries are grappling with how to deal with thousands of people who are technically infected but may not still pose a transmission risk to others.

The U.N. health agency said it updated its recommendations because recovered patients were still testing positive for the virus weeks later. Despite their results, "these patients are not likely to be infectious and therefore are unlikely to be able to transmit the virus to another person," WHO said.

Italy, the onetime epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, followed the WHO's previous testing advice, with some people self-isolating even though they felt fine because they kept testing positive.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza asked the Italian government's scientific and technical advisory committee Sunday for guidance on the new recommendations, noting they represented a "significant" change to Italy's management of patients.

Gallery: Coronavirus scenes, 6-21-2020

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Speranza said the updated advice also could alter how the government counts who has officially recovered from the virus and recommended "maximum precaution."

Elsewhere around the world:

• In England, lockdown restrictions prevented druids, pagans and party-goers from watching the sun rise at the ancient circle of Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice. English Heritage, which runs the site, livestreamed it instead, while a few people gathered outside the fence.

• Brazil's Health Ministry said the total number of cases had risen by more than 50,000 in a day. President Jair Bolsonaro has been downplaying the risks even as his country has seen nearly 50,000 fatalities, the second-highest death toll in the world.

• South Africa reported a one-day high of almost 5,000 new cases Saturday and 46 deaths. Despite the increase, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a further loosening of one of the world's strictest lockdowns. Casinos, beauty salons and sit-down restaurant service will reopen.

• In Germany, a single meatpacking plant has had more than 1,000 cases, so the regional government issued a quarantine for all 6,500 workers, managers and family members.

• In China, authorities recorded 25 new confirmed cases -- 22 in Beijing. In the past week, Beijing tightened travel controls by requiring anyone who wants to leave the Chinese capital to show proof they have tested negative.

• In South Korea, nearly 200 infections have been traced to employees at a door-to-door sales company in Seoul, and at least 70 infections are tied to a table tennis club. But South Korean officials are reluctant to enforce stronger social distancing to avoid hurting the economy.

​​​​​Information for this article was contributed by Joseph Wilson, Jamey Keaten, Joe McDonald, Kim Tong-hyung, Nicole Winfield and staff members of The Associated Press; and by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Taylor Telford and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post.

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People, some wearing face masks as a measure to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, walk in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, June 20, 2020, during a relaxation of restrictive measures amid the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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Health workers wait for patients during a mass test for the new coronavirus at the local district office in Tanah Abang in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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People get tested for COVID-19 at a drive through testing site hosted by the Puente Movement migrant justice organization Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Phoenix. Latinos are especially vulnerable to infection because they tend to live in tight quarters with multiple family members and have jobs that expose them to others. They also have a greater incidence of health conditions like diabetes that put them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Emergency health workers wearing protective face masks, take part in a protest to demand payment of their salaries and improvement of benefits amid the new coronavirus pandemic, outside Guanabara Palace, the seat of state government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 20, 2020. Brazil's government confirmed that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, second only to the United States. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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People get tested for COVID-19 at a drive through testing site hosted by the Puente Movement migrant justice organization Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Phoenix. Latinos are especially vulnerable to infection because they tend to live in tight quarters with multiple family members and have jobs that expose them to others. They also have a greater incidence of health conditions like diabetes that put them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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FILE In this Saturday, June 20, 2020 file photo, residents wear faces mask to protect against coronavirus and wear San Fermin's red kerchief as people march the route of the running of the bulls while a singer performs a San Fermin's festival song, in Pamplona, northern Spain. Spain reopened its borders to European tourists Sunday, June 21, 2020 in a bid to kickstart its economy while Brazil and South Africa struggled with rising coronavirus infections. At a campaign rally, President Donald Trump said he told the U.S. government to reduce testing for the virus, apparently to avoid unflattering statistics ahead of the U.S. election in November. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos, File)
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A man reacts as he has her nasal swab sample collected by a health worker during a mass test for the new coronavirus at the local district office in Tanah Abang in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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Wylie High School senior Christian Merced expresses his feelings after graduation was halted midway through because of an incoming thunderstorm Friday, June 19, 2020. (Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)
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Red Cross helpers wear face masks and protective clothing while distributing bread to residents of a house that has been quarantined in Verl, Germany, Sunday, June 21, 2020. The city of Verl has set up a quarantine after positive corona tests on numerous employees of the Toennies slaughterhouse living in several apartment buildings in the Suerenheide district. ( David Inderlied/dpa via AP)

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