The United States has reached an agreement with two major drug companies to secure plentiful supplies of a future vaccine against the coronavirus, as cases of the disease keep rising there and in other parts of the world.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.

* Eikon users, see MacroVitals (cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098) for a case tracker and a summary of developments.

AMERICAS

* U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said talks with the White House on a coronavirus aid bill were far from a deal on Friday, as federal unemployment benefits that have been an essential lifeline for millions of Americans expired.

* Two major drug companies will supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses of an experimental vaccine, the Trump administration said on Friday, as the nation’s top health agency predicted that fatalities would rise in the coming weeks.

* Mexico surpassed Britain as the country with the third-highest coronavirus death toll on Friday, as the pandemic reaches new milestones in Latin America and threatens to disrupt efforts to reopen the region’s economies.

EUROPE

* Russia’s health minister is preparing a mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus for October, local news agencies reported on Saturday, after a vaccine completed clinical trials.

* Poland reported its highest number of new cases for a third day in a row on Saturday with 658, the Health Ministry said.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would postpone the next stage of lockdown easing for at least two weeks due to a pick-up in infection rates.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his coronavirus task force to address the concerns of more than a million doctors and nurses who called for reviving strict lockdowns after a third day of record infections.

* Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, reported 397 cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, down by more than a third from Friday, but authorities said they are considering further restrictions as numbers remain worrisome.

* South Korean authorities arrested the founder of a secretive Christian sect at the centre of the country’s largest outbreak of COVID-19 infections on Saturday for allegedly hiding crucial information from contact-tracers and other offences.

* Japan’s stately traditional kabuki theatre resumed performances after a five-month break, with musicians in masks, actors farther apart on stage and only half the usual number of seats.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Egypt reported 321 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the health ministry said, the lowest figure since May 3.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline Plc said on Friday they are in advanced discussions to supply up to 300 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine for the 27-country European Union.

* Merck & Co said on Friday it plans to advance an antiviral treatment for COVID-19 into large studies in the coming weeks.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* More than half of the roughly 9 million British employees who were put on furlough during the lockdown have already returned to work, the Resolution Foundation think tank estimated on Saturday.

* Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera announced $4.5 billion in additional stimulus spending to help soften the blow of the pandemic.

* Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said it will offer a voluntary scheme to its Hong Kong-based pilots who are approaching retirement age to leave the group early, in a continued effort to cut costs amid the pandemic.

Source : News 18

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