(Adds new developments)
Oct 29 (Reuters) - India crossed a grim milestone of 8 million coronavirus cases on Thursday, while French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into lockdowns as Europe faces a second wave of infections.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/ in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* EU leaders aim to make progress on common testing and vaccination strategies at a video conference on Thursday and step up coordination in fighting the fast-expanding COVID-19 pandemic.
* French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into lockdown on Wednesday, as a massive second wave of coronavirus infections threatened to overwhelm Europe before the winter.
* The spread of the coronavirus continues to increase across all parts of England with cases doubling every nine days, according to a new study by Imperial College.
* With less than a week before Election Day, President Donald Trump held a pair of in-person campaign rallies in Arizona on Wednesday despite a U.S. surge in COVID-19 cases and criticism he is prioritizing his re-election above the health of his supporters.
* Argentina's COVID-19 fatalities rose above 30,000, another grim milestone for a country now battling one of the world's highest daily death tolls.
* Brazil's health regulator Anvisa said it has authorized the import of raw materials from Chinese company Sinovac for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine.
* Australia's COVID-19 hotspot state Victoria reported only one new infection on Thursday, a day after it lifted a four month lockdown in the city of Melbourne.
* Thailand's finance ministry upgraded its 2020 gross domestic product forecast to a 7.7% contraction from the 8.5% decline it projected in July, helped by government measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* One person is dying from COVID-19 every three minutes in Iran, state television said on Wednesday, as the health ministry reported a record daily toll of 415 fatalities.
* Senior sources in the British government expect that a verdict on whether Pfizer Inc-backed COVID-19 vaccine works will be available before the results are in on AstraZeneca Plc's competing vaccine, the Times reported.
* Shionogi & Co is planning clinical trials by year-end for what may be one of Japan's first domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market.
* The handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race are pushing the boundaries of vaccine technology.
* Asia's stock markets fell on Thursday, but without the panic selling seen in Europe and the United States, while U.S. futures jumped as investors tried to get a grip on fears that fresh lockdowns could derail a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Japanese retail sales fell for the seventh straight month in September as the pandemic kept a lid on consumers' shopping appetite, underscoring the fragile economic recovery from this year's slump.
* The Bank of Japan trimmed its economic and price forecasts for the current fiscal year but offered a more upbeat view on the recovery outlook, signalling that it has delivered enough stimulus for the time being.
(Compiled by Amy Caren Daniel; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)