Singapore, which once had the highest COVID-19 rate in Southeast Asia, said it was nearly virus-free and Australia’s most populous state eased restrictions, while Tokyo will urge bars and restaurants to operate shortened hours.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/ in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Britain’s failure to stockpile key pieces of personal protective equipment before the pandemic left supplies low and forced the government to pay five times the normal price to meet demand, the public spending watchdog said.
* France will start easing curbs this weekend so people will be able to spend the holiday with their families, and said a vaccine could start being administered by the year-end if approved by regulators.
* The UK‘s four nations agreed to relax restrictions for Christmas, while Germany’s 16 federal states planned to allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year.
* U.S. health officials and politicians pleaded with Americans to stay at home over the Thanksgiving holiday and abide by constraints.
* The Canadian province of Alberta said it would ban indoor social gatherings, halt classes for some students and reduce retail store capacities.
* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon shorten the length of self-quarantine period recommended after potential exposure to the coronavirus.
* Medecins Sans Frontieres will withdraw from a collaboration with a Venezuelan hospital to treat COVID-19 patients due to restrictions on specialists’ ability to enter the country.
* The Australian Open is likely to be delayed by a week or two as negotiations between organisers, the tennis tours and the Victoria government over health measures continue.
* Japanese trend-setters can now protect against the coronavirus in luxurious style with opulent masks adorned with diamonds and pearls for a cool million yen ($9,600) each.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Egypt braced for a second coronavirus wave ahead of winter, as people in its capital city largely continue to disregard rules over face masks and social distancing.
* Iran plans to use foreign vaccines while also developing its own, President Hassan Rouhani said as new daily cases hit a record high.
* Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and Moscow aims to produce more than a billion doses at home and abroad next year.
* Eli Lilly and Co signed an agreement with the Canadian government to supply 26,000 doses of its COVID-19 antibody drug.
* Using blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat patients with severe pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus showed little benefit, according to data from a clinical trial in Argentina.
* World shares rallied to a record peak on Wednesday, following an overnight surge that saw the Dow Jones benchmark crack 30,000 for the first time as investors cheered a dramatically improved global outlook.
* British finance minister Rishi Sunak will free up more cash on Wednesday against the backdrop of the heaviest public borrowing since World War Two.
* U.S. consumer confidence fell more than expected in November amid a widespread resurgence in new infections and business restrictions, reinforcing expectations for a sharp slowdown in the fourth quarter.
* Bitcoin moved to within a whisker of its all-time high on Tuesday, after hitting $19,000 for the first time in nearly three years.