GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS CASES:
* Sixty-five migrants who were in a group of 94 people rescued at sea and brought to Malta on Monday have tested positive for COVID-19, Malta’s health ministry said on Tuesday.
* California, Florida and Texas, the three largest US states, all set one-day records for fatalities from COVID-19 on Wednesday, a Reuters tally showed.
* US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that members and staff would be required to wear masks in the House of Representatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
* US congressional Republicans and Democrats, struggling to reach a deal to provide more aid to those hurt by the pandemic, slid on Wednesday toward letting a $600-per-week unemployment benefit lapse when it expires this week.
* The Costa Rican government will begin an economic reopening on Saturday in a bid to reverse a sharp coronavirus-induced slowdown, the president said on Wednesday, even though the official tally shows the COVID-19 caseload continuing to rise.
* Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak set daily records on Wednesday with both 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 related deaths, as the world’s second-worst outbreak accelerates toward the milestone of 100,000 lives cut short.
* Brazil on Wednesday reopened international air travel to foreign tourists, which had been banned since March.
* Australia recorded its deadliest day in the pandemic on Thursday with at least 13 deaths and more than 700 new infections mainly in Victoria state, where the government ordered all residents to wear face-coverings outside.
* North Korea’s nominal head of state inspected the locked down border town Kaesong after a defector suspected of having the coronavirus returned from South Korea, said state media, signalling serious concerns about cross-border contamination.
* Vietnam, virus-free for months, is bracing for another wave of COVID-19 infections after state media reported new cases in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands linked to a recent outbreak in the central city of Danang.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The Namibian government has approached the International Monetary Fund for a 4.5 billion Namibian dollars ($274 million) emergency loan to help fight the pandemic.
* South Korea’s Celltrion Inc on Thursday said British regulators had given it regulatory approval for a phase I clinical trial of its experimental COVID-19 treatment drug.
* The Food and Drug Administration could authorise emergency use of antibody-rich blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat people infected with the coronavirus as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported.
* Britain has signed a deal for up to 60 million doses of a possible COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, its fourth such arrangement.
* The US economy likely contracted at its steepest pace since the Great Depression in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed consumer and business spending, potentially wiping out more than five years of growth.
* The surge in US coronavirus cases and the restrictions aimed at containing it have begun to weigh on the economic recovery, the head of the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
* Asian stocks were boosted by the promise of ultra-easy monetary policy globally as the US Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero to support the country’s virus-battered economy, sending the dollar to a two-year trough.