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Factbox-Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) - Countries around the world agonised over new coronavirus curbs ahead of Christmas and other holidays as global infections approached 60 million on Wednesday and U.S. officials pleaded with Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

Parishioners wearing protective face masks pray at Graslin square during an open air mass in Nantes, as public masses are suspended during the second national lockdown as part of the measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in France, November 15, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open here in an external browser.

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals here for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* Germany reported a record 410 deaths over 24 hours just before federal state leaders and Chancellor Angela Merkel were due to discuss an extension of pandemic-related restrictions into December and for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

* Spain’s prime minister said his government was considering limiting Christmas celebrations to gatherings of six people.

* Norway must maintain its most recent restrictions for now and needs at least another three weeks to assess whether they can be lifted, its prime minister said.

AMERICAS

* Daily U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 for the first time since May and with hospitals across the country already full.

* U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will give a speech on Wednesday highlighting the challenges facing Americans as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the nation faces a surge in infections and a wave of unpopular health restrictions.

* The Canadian province of Alberta said it would ban indoor social gatherings, halt classes for some students and reduce retail store capacities.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Tokyo will urge shorter working hours for bars and restaurants and ask residents to stay indoors as much as possible in “tough, concentrated action” to tame a spike in coronavirus cases.

* Singapore, which once had the highest COVID-19 rate in Southeast Asia, said it was nearly virus-free.

* The Australian Open is likely to be delayed by a week or two as negotiations between organisers, the tennis tours and the Victoria government over health measures continue.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Israel’s central bank urged the government to approve a 2021 state budget as soon as possible to avoid further fiscal restraint when the economy needs stimulus to weather the crisis.

* Iran registered a daily record high of 13,843 new cases, pushing the national tally to 894,385 in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* COVAXX, a unit of United Biomedical Inc, has received purchase commitments totalling $2.8 billion to deliver more than 140 million doses of its potential vaccine to developing countries, including Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

* The European Medicines Agency is hopeful that it will be able to produce a scientific opinion on COVID-19 vaccines seeking regulatory approval before Christmas.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global shares hit record highs and were on course for their best month ever, with investors cheering the prospect of a smooth handover of power after the U.S. presidential election and confident COVID-19 vaccines would soon be ready. [MKTS/GLOB]

* The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits increased further last week, suggesting that an explosion in new infections and business restrictions were boosting layoffs and undermining the labor market recovery.

* Britain will borrow almost 400 billion pounds this year to pay for the massive coronavirus hit to its economy, as the budget deficit climbs to its highest level outside wartime.

* Japan’s government cut its view on capital spending in November for the fifth time this year as companies trimmed investment, and said overall economic conditions were still severe due to the pandemic.

Compiled by Milla Nissi and Anna Rzhevkina; Edited by Alexandra Hudson and Gareth Jones

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