More than 20.34 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 741,097 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* President Vladimir Putin said Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, although experts raised concerns as final trials were pending.
* Germany has extended a partial travel warning for Spain to the capital of Madrid and the Basque region.
* Hundreds of struggling live-event workers took over one of Lisbon’s main squares Tuesday night to urge the country’s government to help them survive the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
* Brazil’s Paraná state is in talks with Russia to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, the state research institute said.
* Mexico received 41% less foreign visitors during the first six months of 2020, as the pandemic hammered the tourism industry.
* Ecuador expects a quick resolution to a trade dispute with China over traces of coronavirus in a container of exported shrimp that led Beijing to suspend imports from three companies.
* South Korea and the United States will kick off their annual joint military drills this week, but without mobilising U.S.-based troops after scaling back the programme.
* The Philippine president lauded Russia’s efforts to develop a vaccine and is willing to personally participate in trials.
* Bhutan ordered its first nationwide lockdown after a returning resident tested positive after being discharged from quarantine.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Lebanon announced a record daily number of COVID-19 infections and seven deaths as the country grapples with the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion.
* The United States has entered an agreement with Moderna Inc to acquire 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for around $1.5 billion.
* Vir Biotechnology Inc said it plans to start a mid-to-late stage trial of its COVID-19 drug candidate in August.
* Mexico aims to conduct late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in development by U.S. and Chinese companies, two of which might base some of their production in the country.
* Johnson & Johnson could produce 1 billion doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine next year if it proves successful.
* Asian stocks dipped on growing uncertainty over whether the U.S. lawmakers would agree on an additional round of big fiscal stimulus to support an economy still struggling with the novel coronavirus.
* New Zealand’s central bank surprised markets on Wednesday by expanding its bond-buying programme and held out the prospect of negative interest rates in a bid to revive the coronavirus-battered economy.
* The number of people in work in Britain has suffered the biggest drop since 2009 and signs are growing that the coronavirus will take a heavier toll on the labour market.