The U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday as more states reported record numbers of new infections, and Florida faced an impending shortage of intensive care unit hospital beds.
* Spain’s cabinet will approve the extension of measures aimed at easing the financial burden on rental tenants and homeowners hit by the coronavirus, government sources told Reuters.
* The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 55,398, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources.
* U.S. President Donald Trump said he would pressure state governors to open schools in the fall, despite a surge in cases across the country that have prompted some local officials to pause or scale back reopening plans.
* A top U.S. health official said the U.S. and other countries could have had a stronger initial response to COVID-19 if China had been more forthcoming about key features of the virus.
* Latin America and the Caribbean now account for 50% of the COVID-19 cases in the Americas, and the number of registered cases continues to accelerate, the World Health Organization’s regional director Carissa Etienne said.
* Australia will likely slow down the return of its citizens from abroad, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as it grapples with a fresh outbreak that has led it to isolate its second-most populous state.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran has recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period, Health Ministry figures showed.
* Doctors in Sierra Leone, who are refusing to treat COVID-19 patients to press demands for bonus payments and more protective equipment, threatened to suspend care for other patients too if the dispute is not resolved by Sunday.
* The World Health Organization acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the coronavirus.
* As the U.S. accelerates the search for a vaccine, tensions have erupted between government scientists and Moderna Inc , one of the leading developers.
* Vaccine maker GSK has put its vaccine booster technology to work in a potential new COVID-19 shot, to be developed with a Canadian biopharmaceutical company backed by Philip Morris.
* Asian stocks dithered on Wednesday as an increase in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the world cast doubts over the economic recovery while oil prices eased on oversupply fears.
* A surge in cases that threatens to pinch consumer spending and job gains just as some stimulus programs are due to expire has Federal Reserve policymakers worried, with at least one pledging more support ahead from the U.S. central bank.
* Japanese bank lending grew at the fastest annual pace on record in June as companies continued to hoard cash, central bank data showed.
* Many countries may need debt restructuring in the aftermath of the pandemic and its economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist said.
* Six movie theatre chains, including AMC Entertainment , Cinemark and Regal Cinemas, have sued New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for refusing to let them resume operations.