Russia has said its Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19, while Japan’s Fujitsu, Mizuho and PeptiDream said they are forming a joint venture to develop treatments for the respiratory disease.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* France reported 35,879 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the total to 1.86 million, overtaking Russia and making it the worst affected country in the European region.
* Spain will from Nov. 23 demand a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours for air travellers arriving from countries with a high risk of contracting COVID-19, the health ministry said.
* Italy surpassed the one-million infections mark on Wednesday, leap-frogging Mexico to become one of the top 10 worst-affected countries globally, meanwhile the United Kingdom passed 50,000 deaths linked to COVID-19.
* Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it would be challenging to distribute vaccines that use messenger RNA based technology in developing countries because of their cold storage requirements.
* The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, and several of his ministers began preventative isolation after coming in close contact with an official infected with coronavirus.
* The West Indies cricket team have been cleared to leave their biosecure facility in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday after their third round of COVID-19 tests were negative.
* Athletes who arrive in Japan to participate in the Tokyo Olympics will not have to isolate for the required 14 days after arrival, Olympic organisers said.
* The opening of Asia’s first “travel bubble” allowing tourism without quarantines since the pandemic hit has sparked a surge in searches and bookings for travel between Singapore and Hong Kong.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa will open up travel to all countries in an effort to boost the tourism and hospitality sectors, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, despite having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent.
* Turkey banned smoking in crowded public places to slow a recent surge in symptomatic coronavirus patients, the Interior Minister said.
* China’s Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding announced a deal on Wednesday to manufacture, sell and test Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine in China.
* Moderna Inc said it has enough data to begin its first planned interim analysis from the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
* Brazil health regulator Anvisa allowed resumption of late-stage clinical trials for China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
* Asian shares rose toward a more than two-year peak on Thursday, buoyed by sustained global stimulus efforts and hopes of a coronavirus vaccine, but some analysts warned of the risk of a correction lower.
* Japan’s core machinery orders fell for the first time in three months in September and at a faster-than-expected pace.
* Germany’s economic advisers expect Europe’s largest economy to shrink less than initially feared this year thanks to a strong summer, but a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is clouding the growth outlook for next year.