COVID-19 infections in Europe are back to levels seen in March when the outbreak began its peak phase there, the head of the European Union’s public health agency has said.
At the same time, the British government re-imposed local restrictions on parts of the Greater Manchester area in northern England, the latest in a series of abrupt reversals.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Turkey is experiencing the second peak of its novel coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
* Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed to carry on with political activities ahead of local elections in September after testing positive for COVID-19.
* The first shots of British drug maker AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by the end of 2020, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
* European Union states could buy potential COVID-19 vaccines through a procurement scheme co-led by the World Health Organization, the EU Commission said in what appears to be a change in position.
* Germany’s national institute for infectious diseases on Wednesday added the Canary Islands to its list of risk regions, citing a high rate of new coronavirus infections in the Spanish autonomous region.
* Greece recorded its first coronavirus case in the overcrowded migrant camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos and the facility has been placed under a two-week quarantine.
* Hong Kong said it would relax some restrictions but would cancel the annual firework display to mark China’s national day on Oct. 1 for a second year in a row.
* More than 40% of new cases in South Korea are being found in people over the age of 60, health authorities said.
* Japan is considering offering the coronavirus vaccine for free to all citizens, Kyodo news reported on Wednesday.
* U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after a phone call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday that “serious differences” remain between Democrats and the White House over the coronavirus relief legislation.
* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping nationwide order temporarily halting millions of U.S. renters from being evicted.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa’s auditor general said that some of the money in its 500 billion rand ($30 billion) COVID-19 relief package may have been fraudulently paid to improper beneficiaries.
* The European health regulator said it was evaluating Taw Pharma’s branded steroidal drug dexamethasone as a potential COVID-19 treatment.
* Treating critically ill patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials found, prompting the World Health Organisation to update its advice on treatment.
* A gauge of global stocks rallied about 1% to an intraday record on Wednesday as investors looked to improving economic data and U.S. congressional negotiations for more stimulus to support the rebound from coronavirus-fueled lockdowns.
* India is facing potential delays in the harvest of its massive sugarcane crop, threatening supply worldwide, as millions of migrant workers may be scared to travel due to the novel coronavirus.
* Australia fell into its deepest economic slump on record last quarter as virus curbs paralysed business activity, while fresh outbreaks threaten to upend any immediate recovery.