More than 41.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,133,635 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
In the meantime, Europe’s reported coronavirus cases more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday.
Many Southern European countries reported their highest single-day cases this week.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Germany is making preparations to start vaccinations against the coronavirus before the end of the year, Bild daily reported on Friday.
* The Peruvian government refused to sign a coronavirus vaccine purchase agreement with AstraZeneca PLC because it did not provide sufficient data from its studies and offered minimal amounts of inoculations.
* The United States, state governments and some foreign countries should replace quarantines and travel bans on airline passengers with COVID-19 testing of travelers before departure and upon arrival, airline and business groups said.
* Several U.S. states, many of them in the Midwest, reported record single-day increases in cases.
* The Japanese government’s expert panel to combat the pandemic plans to propose on Friday extending the New Year holidays by about a week to Jan. 11, Kyodo News reported.
* Australia’s Victoria state – the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak – reported that active coronavirus cases have fallen to a four-month low, paving the way for an acceleration in the easing of social distancing curbs.
* The Philippines’ coronavirus task force has approved the entry of foreign investors to the Southeast Asian nation starting from Nov. 1.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Ethiopia can jail people for up to two years if they deliberately violate COVID-19 restrictions, the attorney general’s office said, amid concern that citizens are becoming lax after a state of emergency was lifted.
* The U.S. FDA approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19, making it the first and only drug approved for the disease.
* Using blood of recovered COVID-19 patients – or so-called convalescent plasma – as a potential treatment is of little benefit in helping hospitalised patients fight off the infection, according to results of a clinical trial in India.
* Global stocks barely budged on Friday as investors tightened positions with less than two weeks to go before the U.S. presidential election and awaited a breakthrough in stimulus talks in Washington.
* White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said negotiations with lawmakers on a coronavirus relief package, now totaling $1.9 trillion, have entered a new phase with congressional committee chairs meeting.
* Japan’s core consumer prices slipped for the second consecutive month in September, a sign that a coronavirus-induced demand downturn is piling deflationary pressure on the world’s third-largest economy already blighted by recession.
* The euro zone’s economic recovery is at serious risk of stalling as a resurgent coronavirus sweeps through Europe, according to economists in a Reuters poll.