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Health

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 crossed 60 million and U.S. officials pleaded with Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

FILE PHOTO: A patient arrives outside Maimonides Medical Center, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

* The European Union is planning bold measures to boost its access to drugs, from sidestepping patent rights in emergencies to offering incentives for companies to shift production to Europe.

* Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states to extend and tighten measures until at least Dec. 20 and they are likely to extend them into January.

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

AMERICAS

* Americans defied pleas from officials to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday, triggering fresh warnings from health officials with the release of vaccines still weeks away.

* Mexico City has launched a test-and-trace approach to containing the coronavirus, after a rise in hospitalizations that has raised fears of a new economic lockdown.

* The Canadian province of Saskatchewan said on Wednesday it would restrict capacities of large stores and certain other public places.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale food centre, which was linked to a coronavirus outbreak in June, has suspended sales and storage of cold-chain and aquatic products.

* Researchers led by the WHO would like to go back to a wholesale food market in Wuhan, China to follow up initial cases which emerged in the city and investigate how the virus probably first spread from bats.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Leading Sudanese politician and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi died from a coronavirus infection three weeks after being hospitalised in the United Arab Emirates.

* Turkey, which announced asymptomatic case numbers for the first time since July, has signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech.

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.

* Dutch researchers are preparing for a potential “human challenge” COVID-19 vaccine trial, advocacy group 1Day Sooner said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian shares advanced on Thursday as markets’ euphoric mood over vaccines and the prospects of more political predictability and economic stimulus under the incoming Biden administration overrode a slate of weak U.S. economic data.

* Australian business investment fell by more than expected last quarter as coronavirus lockdowns forced firms to delay purchases of equipment.

* South Korea’s central bank kept its key policy rate steady for a fourth straight meeting on Thursday and sounded upbeat on the economic outlook even as the country faced a third wave of infections.

* 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 labour market recovery.

Compiled by Ramakrishnan M., Devika Syamnath and Milla Nissi; Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta

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