More than 38.8 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,094,947 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.
In the meantime, U.S. President Donald Trump urged for a big stimulus to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19, as the country’s tally of infections surpassed eight million while reporting record spikes in several states.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* The Polish government urged its citizens to stay at home and ordered new national restrictions after cases rose by 24% to a record.
* Police raided the homes and offices of France’s health minister, its public health director and former prime minister as a judicial investigation into the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis deepened.
* New COVID-19 cases in the United States rose by one million in less than a month to push total caseloads beyond eight million, with Wisconsin and other midwestern states seeing a record jump in new infections.
* President Donald Trump said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a COVID-19 relief deal with Democrats in the U.S. Congress, but the idea was shot down by his fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
* Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 after he flew earlier this week with a person who subsequently tested positive.
* Catholics and Jews asked U.S. courts to overturn New York Governor’s order limiting worship to no more than 10 congregants in communities hard hit by the virus, calling the measure a threat to religious freedom.
* Mexico’s death toll surpassed 85,000 after it reported 387 additional fatalities along with 5,514 new cases.
* India is bracing for a surge in coming weeks as it heads into its main holiday season with an economy freed of restrictions.
* The organiser of Vietnam’s first Formula One grand prix said it has cancelled the race, having already postponed the event initially scheduled for April.
* Hundreds of New Zealand plane passengers started arriving in Sydney on Friday as part of a new trans-Tasman travel bubble amid a rapidly falling growth rate in cases at the epicentre of Australia’s coronavirus outbreak.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa will embark on a massive public works and job-creation drive in response to the coronavirus crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, unveiling a plan to return Africa’s most industrialised economy to growth.
* One of China’s front-running coronavirus vaccine candidates was shown to be safe and triggered immune responses in a combined early and mid-stage test in humans, researchers said.
* Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ length of hospital stay or chances of survival, a clinical trial by the World Health Organization has found.
* Fujifilm Holdings Corp said it had applied for approval in Japan for its anti-influenza drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.
* The risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus on flights is very low, a U.S. Department of Defense study found, a positive sign for the airline industry.
* Asian stocks edged higher, buoyed by gains in China, but the mood was cautious due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose to a two-month high last week, stoking fears the pandemic was inflicting lasting damage to the labor market.
* Rio Tinto warned a resurgence in infections was putting global economic growth at risk and that steel production outside China has sharply dropped even as stimulus measures prop up demand in the top consumer.