United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for $35 billion more, including $15 billion in the next three months, for the World Health Organization’s “ACT Accelerator” program to back vaccines, treatments and diagnostics against COVID-19.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* France recorded almost 10,000 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, its highest ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.
* Portugal, a perennial favourite of British holidaymakers, is back among the countries from which travellers must quarantine when entering England, less than a month after it was put on the safe list.
* Stricter measures will be adopted in Portugal’s two biggest cities to contain a worrying rise in coronavirus cases as workers slowly return to offices and pupils gear up to go back to schools, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.
* Doctors in Indonesia’s capital warned the pandemic is “not under control” with Jakarta intensive care units nearing full capacity and the city ordering new lockdown measures amid a spike in infections.
* The U.S. Senate on Thursday killed a Republican bill that would have provided around $300 billion in new coronavirus aid, as Democrats seeking far more funding prevented it from advancing.
* Canada is “aggressively negotiating” with drugmakers on delivery schedules for potential COVID-19 vaccines and shipments would begin early in 2021 under existing deals, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement told Reuters.
* The massive temples and pyramids of Teotihuacan, one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations, reopened to visitors on Thursday, more than five months after closing in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* An Israeli company expects to receive results in the coming week from a Beijing lab that will test whether a fabric it has developed will be able to neutralise 99% of COVID-19, even after being washed multiple times.
* Jordan confirmed the first three cases in the country’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, just a few days after discovering two cases in a smaller camp.
* International donors have raised $700 million – less than half the target – to purchase future coronavirus vaccines for poor countries, a WHO official said.
* Turkey is considering a request from Russia to conduct Phase III trials of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday, adding a decision would be made in the next week.
* The National Institutes of Health said it has launched two of the three late-stage clinical trials to test the effectiveness and safety of different types of blood thinners in treating COVID-19 among adults.
* The German government expects its tax revenues from 2020 until 2024 to come in 19.1 billion euros lower than previously projected as the pandemic continues to erode public finances.