The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, with Thursday’s 150,000 new cases the highest in a single day and nearly half of those in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 8.81 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 462,960 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 0400 GMT on Sunday.
* Spain said it would allow in British tourists from Sunday without requiring them to spend two weeks in quarantine, opening up to one of its largest tourism markets after the hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
* The coronavirus reproduction rate in Germany has jumped to 1.79 after a raft of localised outbreaks, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health said on Saturday, far above the level needed to contain it over the longer term.
* British finance minister Rishi Sunak signalled that the government is poised to relax its two-metre social distancing rule for England which businesses have said in its current form would slow their recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.
* U.S. President Donald Trump told thousands of cheering supporters he had asked U.S. officials to slow down coronavirus testing, calling it a “double-edged sword” that led to more cases being discovered. A White House official said Trump was joking with his call for a slowdown.
* Nearly 50,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Brazil, the world No. 2 hotspot, with 1,022 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.
* Australia’s second most populous state Victoria extended its state of emergency for four more weeks to July 19, as it battles a spike in coronavirus infections.
* Officials in Beijing are carrying out tests to detect traces of coronavirus on all food and parcel delivery workers in an effort to rein in a new outbreak, state-backed media reported.
* India reported a record jump in coronavirus infections, a day after the government in the capital New Delhi ordered hospitals to cancel any leave and have workers return to duty immediately.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Saudi Arabia will end a nationwide curfew and lift restrictions on businesses from Sunday morning after three months of lockdown, state news agency SPA quoted a source in the interior ministry as saying.
* President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had lost some ground in its coronavirus battle but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year.
* The U.S. National Institutes of Health said it has halted a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
* The European Central Bank’s chief said the European Union’s economy is in a “dramatic fall” due to the coronavirus crisis but EU leaders made little progress towards agreeing a massive stimulus plan.
* Two U.S. Federal Reserve officials sounded increasing pessimism on the swiftness of any economic recovery from the epidemic and said the unemployment rate could rise again if the disease is not brought under control.
* Russia’s central bank slashed interest rates on Friday to the lowest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union.