Coronavirus updates: US records nearly 56,000 new cases, over 1,500 additional deaths

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 749,000 people worldwide.

Over 20.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.1 million diagnosed cases and at least 166,027 deaths.

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orders COVID-19 tests for travelers from 4 nations US records nearly 56,000 new cases, over 1,500 additional deaths

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4:48 a.m.: orders COVID-19 tests for travelers from 4 nations

has ruled that people traveling to the country from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain must be tested for COVID-19 on arrival.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced Wednesday evening that he had signed the new order, adding that anyone traveling from or through Colombia would be barred from entering .

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on March 31, 2020, a worker sprays disinfectant to sanitize Piazza del Duomo, the main city square of Milan, Italy. (Luca Bruno/AP)

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on March 31, 2020, a worker sprays disinfectant to sanitize Piazza del Duomo, the main city square of Milan, Italy. (Luca Bruno/AP)

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on March 31, 2020, a worker sprays disinfectant to sanitize Piazza del Duomo, the main city square of Milan, . (Luca Bruno/AP)

"We must continue along the line of prudence to defend the results achieved in recent months with everyone's sacrifice," Speranza wrote in a Facebook post.

, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, has so far reported more than 251,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with over 35,000 deaths. The country registered another rise in the number of new infections Wednesday, with 481 cases identified in the past 24 hours -- up from 412 on Tuesday, according to data released by 's Civil Protection Agency.

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3:50 a.m.: US records nearly 56,000 new cases, over 1,500 additional deaths

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There were 55,910 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 1,504 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported -- a jump of more than 400 from the previous day.

It's the first time in four days that the nation has recorded over 50,000 new cases. But Wednesday's caseload is still well below the record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

PHOTO: A health worker tests a woman for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing location on the boardwalk at Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOTO: A health worker tests a woman for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing location on the boardwalk at Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOTO: A health worker tests a woman for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing location on the boardwalk at Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

A total of 5,197,377 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 166,027 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some -- including Arizona, California and Florida -- reporting daily records. However, the nationwide number of new cases and deaths in the last week have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News Wednesday night.

ABC News Josh Margolin and Phoebe Natanson contributed to this report.

Coronavirus updates: US records nearly 56,000 new cases, over 1,500 additional deaths originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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