Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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A cheap and widely-used steroid called dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to be able to save lives among COVID-19 patients in what scientists said is a “major breakthrough” in the coronavirus pandemic.

Trial results announced on Tuesday showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* About 8.1 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 437,340 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1624 GMT on Tuesday.

* Eikon users, see MacroVitals (cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098) for a case tracker and a summary of developments.

EUROPE

* Germany appealed to the public to download a new smartphone app to help break the chain of infections, one of several such apps that European governments hope will revive travel and tourism safely.

* Spain is considering imposing a quarantine on British travellers when it reopens its borders next week in response to a similar policy by Britain.

* Residents of Moscow were able to return to museums and summer terraces for the first time in more than two months as the Russian capital rolled back curbs despite continuing to record over 1,000 new daily infections.

* The wife of Ukraine’s president was hospitalised after contracting coronavirus and her condition was stable, the presidential office said, adding a fresh test of her husband was negative.

* EU countries agreed technical standards for interoperability between smartphone apps that track the risk of infections, a step that could help to revive travel and tourism.

AMERICAS

* The World Health Organization’s regional director for the Americas said that the region is fast approaching 4 million cases of coronavirus and the pandemic continues to accelerate.

* New York on Tuesday again reported its lowest number of hospitalisations and deaths since the start of the outbreak, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters in Albany.

* Mexico has paused its migrant farm worker programme in Canada, Mexico’s foreign ministry spokesman said, after an outbreak in Ontario killed two workers from Mexico.

* Chile’s government extended a state of catastrophe in place since mid-March by 90 days.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Beijing’s city government on Tuesday raised its COVID-19 emergency response level to II from III, according to state media.

* Beijing banned high-risk people from leaving the Chinese capital and halted some transport services to stop the spread of a fresh outbreak to other cities and provinces.

* Delhi’s local health minister checked into hospital and was being tested for the coronavirus as India reported more than 10,500 new infections.

* New Zealand said on Tuesday it had two new cases, both related to recent travel from Britain, ending a 24-day spell of no new infections in the country.

* Hong Kong will let groups of up to 50 people meet from Friday, easing an earlier limit of eight people.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkey may have to adopt a harder line on social interactions following a worrying jump in cases but it has no plans to reverse an easing of its lockdown, officials say.

* A Catholic archbishop in Cameroon says he has developed two plant-based remedies for COVID-19 which are given free to those who test positive for the disease.

* Israel signed an agreement with Moderna Inc for the future purchase of its potential vaccine should the company succeed in its development.

* Abu Dhabi extended a ban on movement in and out of the emirate and between its major cities by a week to further curb infections.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is narrowing its list of promising experimental coronavirus vaccines to about seven from 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.

* China National Biotec Group (CNBG) said its experimental vaccine has triggered antibodies in clinical trials and the company plans late-stage human trials in foreign countries.

* France’s president and top drugmaker Sanofi announced plans to bolster domestic production of medicines as countries scramble to strengthen their healthcare industries to counter the pandemic.

* Scientists at Imperial College London will start the first clinical trials of a potential vaccine this week with more than 45 million pounds ($56.50 million) in backing from the British government and philanthropic donors.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* Global stocks were back firing on all cylinders on Tuesday as a record rebound in U.S. retail sales and fresh support from the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan reignited risk appetite after a bumpy few days.

* Austria’s government approved a fresh stimulus package that it said boosts the sum of its coronavirus-related economic measures to some 50 billion euros ($56 billion).

* The Spanish government is readying a 150-billion-euro ($170 billion) investment with EU funds to kick-start the economy, newspaper El Pais reported.

* The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) launched initiatives totalling 3.7 billion riyals ($986.40 million) to support private sector industrial enterprises.

* The number of people on British payrolls fell by more than 600,000 in April and May, and vacancies plunged by the most on record.

* Thailand’s cabinet approved a domestic tourism package worth 22.4 billion baht ($722.35 million) to revitalise a key sector hit by the pandemic.

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