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FACTBOX-Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

03 Dec 2020 / 14:12 H.

    (Adds developments)

    Dec 3 (Reuters) - China ordered inspections of imported cold chain products to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while Australia said its international borders would stay shut for now and health officials warned Americans could face a "rough" winter.

    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.

    EUROPE

    * Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who championed European integration and helped modernise French society in the 1970s, has died at the age of 94 after contracting COVID-19.

    * Britain's Prince Harry has suggested that the pandemic is a rebuke from nature as he called for more action to tackle climate change.

    * The European Union criticized Britain's rapid approval of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine, saying its own procedure was more thorough.

    AMERICAS

    * The mayor of the city of Los Angeles announced an emergency order directing all residents within the city to remain in their homes effective immediately.

    * U.S. health experts welcomed British emergency approval of Pfizer's vaccine, while Canadian health authorities should soon complete their regulatory review of the shot.

    * Brazil's health regulator said it was open to approving COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use and outlined the requirements for companies looking to do so.

    * Private U.S. companies have the right under the law to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but are unlikely to do so, experts said.

    ASIA-PACIFIC

    * Nearly half a million South Korean students nervously began a hyper-competitive university entrance exam on Thursday, with COVID-19 students taking the exam in hospital and others separated by transparent barriers.

    * Suspected North Korean hackers have tried to break into at least nine health organisations, including pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and vaccine developer Novavax .

    MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

    * Vaccines will be optional and free to all citizens and residents of Kuwait, the Gulf state's prime minister said.

    MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

    * Australia's pharmaceutical regulator said it is on course to review Pfizer's vaccine by January 2021.

    * Eli Lilly and Co said the U.S. government has purchased 650,000 additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody drug for $812.5 million.

    * South Korean drugmaker Daewoong Pharma said it had sought regulatory approval for Phase 2 trials of its anti-parasite niclosamide drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

    * An editorial in the influential New England Journal of Medicine cites problems with a World Health Organization study that found Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral remdesivir failed to improve COVID-19 survival.

    * Moderna's vaccine could be approved for emergency use within 24 to 72 hours after the U.S. health regulator's advisory

    ECONOMIC IMPACT

    * Republicans and Democrats in U.S. Congress remained unable to reach an agreement on fresh relief, although there were early signs that a $908 billion bipartisan proposal could be gaining traction as a negotiating tool.

    * Growth in China's services sector accelerated in November as new business rose at the fastest pace in over a decade, while Japan's continued to falter in November amid a resurgence in infections.

    * Asian shares were mixed on Thursday after a choppy day of Wall Street trade, thanks in part to a disappointing U.S. jobs report, while the greenback languished near 2-1/2 year lows on growing optimism of a vaccine.

    * Growth in India's dominant services industry lost some momentum in November as demand weakened, a private survey showed on Thursday.

    (Compiled by Ramakrishnan M. and Amy Caren Daniel; Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)

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