China has released genome sequencing data for the coronavirus responsible for a recent outbreak in Beijing, with officials saying on Friday it identified a European strain based on preliminary studies.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 8.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 452,992 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 0400 GMT on Thursday.
* Britain will switch to the Apple and Google model for its COVID-19 test-and-trace app, the government said.
* Russia has revised steeply higher, to nearly 500, the number of medical workers who have died after contracting COVID-19.
* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 770 to 188,534, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.
* Slovenia will introduce an obligatory 14-day quarantine from Friday for most people coming from Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo, the government said.
* California, North Carolina and a string of U.S. cities mandated or urged mandatory mask use on Thursday to get a grip on spiraling coronavirus cases as at least six states set daily records.
* Mexico’s health ministry reported on Thursday a record 5,662 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 667 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 165,455 cases and 19,747 deaths.
* New York Governor Andrew Cuomo slammed the federal government’s handling of the epidemic and said he was considering a quarantine for travellers from Florida.
* The coronavirus is threatening to hamstring Mexico’s fight against some of its most vicious drug gangs.
* Thailand on Friday reported five new coronavirus cases, all of which were found in quarantine, making it 25 days without a confirmed domestic transmission of the virus.
* Japan lifted all coronavirus-related curbs on domestic travel on Friday, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling on people to go sightseeing or attend concerts and other events to help the nation’s economy bounce back from a pandemic recession.
* Mainland China reported 32 new coronavirus cases as of the end of June 18, 25 of which were reported in the capital city Beijing, China’s National Health Commission said on Friday.
* 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.
* 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.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Madagascar has announced a stimulus package offering close to a million small businesses secure loans at below market rates.
* The new coronavirus pandemic hit Cape Town much earlier than previously assumed, a senior health official said.
* Large multi-country trials of the combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir to treat COVID-19 have recruited thousands of patients and the WHO 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.
* An air cargo boom driven by demand for protective gear against the coronavirus has peaked and rates, while still 50% above normal levels, are falling in a worrying trend for airlines relying on freight revenue in the absence of passengers.
* Colombia’s economic contraction this year will be closer to 7% because of a more prolonged fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic than previously expected, central bank board member Ana Fernanda Maiguashca said on Thursday.
* The Canadian government will not raise taxes at this time to help pay for costly coronavirus aid programs, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CTV.
* A second wave of COVID-19 and another round of sweeping lockdowns could have a “very serious” impact on the Canadian economy and must be avoided, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri said.
* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, but the pace of decline has stalled amid a second wave of layoffs.