Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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The World Health Organization hopes hundreds of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine can be produced this year and 2 billion doses by the end of 2021 and is drawing up plans to help decide who should get the first doses once a vaccine is approved, its chief scientist said.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* More than 8.40 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 449,032​ have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1447 GMT on Thursday.

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

 

EUROPE

* Denmark will allow entry to citizens from most European nations with a low number of COVID-19 infections from June 27 – two months earlier than originally planned.

* The Bank of England increased its bond-buying programme by a further 100 billion pounds ($125 billion), but sharply slowed the pace of its purchases.

* The British government will switch to Apple and Google technology for its test-and-trace app, the BBC reported.

* Russia has revised steeply higher, to nearly 500, the number of medical workers who have died after contracting COVID-19.

* The rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans race in September will be condensed into a four-day timetable incorporating free practice, qualifying, warm-up and the race, organisers announced.

AMERICAS

* Peru’s miners are revving up stalled operations with mass testing, isolation periods and revamped shift patterns, setting up the world’s No. 2 copper producer to hit 80% of production capacity by the end of June, industry officials said.

 

* The coronavirus is threatening to hamstring Mexico’s fight against some of its most vicious drug gangs, as police and officials fall sick, security forces are diverted to guard medical centres and military barracks are converted to COVID-19 clinics.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Indonesia’s central bank came under pressure from lawmakers to escalate its response to the economic fallout, even as it cut its benchmark interest rate to a two-year low.

* Beijing has brought its latest coronavirus outbreak under control, a Chinese medical expert said.

* China has found the trading sections for meat and seafood in Beijing’s wholesale food market to be severely contaminated with the new coronavirus, officials said.

* Taiwan’s central bank unexpectedly left its policy rate unchanged but further reduced its growth forecast for 2020.

* Vietnam is holding talks aimed at easing the entry of citizens from China, South Korea and Japan into the country after restrictions on foreign visitors.

* Thailand could allow inbound international travel to resume next month for business purposes, the aviation regulator said.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Major stock markets in the Gulf were subdued in early trade as concern rose that a spike in new cases in China and the United States would slow global economic recovery.

* Madagascar has announced a stimulus package offering close to a million small businesses secure loans at below market rates.

* A village keeping the ancient Egyptian craft of papyrus-making alive has seen demand for the paper collapse after Egypt’s foreign tourism sector came to a near standstill.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Large multi-country trials of the combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir to treat COVID-19 have recruited thousands of patients and the World Health Organization is now looking at interim data, the UN agency’s chief scientist said.

* The European Commission is in advanced talks with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to reserve or buy up-front doses of its COVID-19 vaccine under development, two officials familiar with the talks told Reuters.

* Roche’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra failed to help patients with early-stage COVID-19 pneumonia in an Italian study, the latest instance in which an anti-inflammatory drug has fallen through in a coronavirus trial.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* Global stocks drifted lower as an increase in new coronavirus cases in some U.S. states and China dimmed hopes of a swift world economic comeback from the pandemic.[MKTS/GLOB]

* Britain’s economy is recovering a bit more quickly than the Bank of England thought a month ago, but news from the labour market is mostly negative, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said.

* South Africa’s bad debts could hit 10% of bank lending this year, its banking association director said, which would be the highest ever and well above the 6% seen during the 2008/9 financial crisis.

* Japan’s weaker oil demand is currently balanced by reduced supply from OPEC+ nations, the head of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) said.

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