(Reuters) – The virus that causes COVID-19 could have started spreading in China as early as October 2019, two months before the first case was identified in the central city of Wuhan, a new study showed on Friday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The more infectious Delta coronavirus variant will become dominant in Germany over the summer, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
* Russia on Friday launched into circulation its fourth vaccine against COVID-19, the one-dose Sputnik Light, the Kommersant daily reported.
* Britain will next month publish plans to allow fully vaccinated people to travel unrestricted to all countries except those with the highest COVID-19 risk, in a boost for a travel industry wrecked by the pandemic.
* Taiwan will tighten border controls to keep out the highly contagious Delta variant, authorities said, requiring arrivals from five countries, including Britain, to be placed in centralised quarantine facilities.
* Downtown Sydney and the city’s eastern suburbs, which include Bondi Beach, will go into a one-week lockdown as authorities struggle to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta variant in the city.
* President Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil never paid for or received any doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech, in response to allegations of irregularities in a deal that is under investigation.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Israel told its citizens they must again wear masks indoors, 10 days after being allowed to ditch them, amid a sustained surge in coronavirus infections attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant.
* Indonesia is shifting medical emergency units in the capital, Jakarta, to tents outside hospitals to create more room for COVID-19 beds, the health minister said, as authorities scramble to boost hospital capacity amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
* U.S. health regulators have approved Roche’s arthritis drug Actemra for emergency use to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients, giving a boost to a medicine that was already allowed to be administered on compassionate grounds.
* Antibodies triggered by two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the Delta variant compared with other strains but the shots still offer protection, a Chinese disease control researcher told state media.
* Global equities edged towards record highs on Friday after U.S. President Joe Biden embraced a bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal, raising hopes for an extended rebound in the world’s largest economy, and a tight supply outlook boosted oil. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers jumped in June, data showed, as the government continued to steadily ease coronavirus restrictions.
(Compiled by Jagoda Darlak and Aditya Soni; Edited by Robert Birsel)