(Reuters) – Some 2.8 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 196,298 have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT on Saturday.
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.
* The World Health Organization said there was currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second coronavirus infection.
* Britain could hit the grim milestone of 20,000 COVID-19 deaths later on Saturday, when the daily count is added to the current toll of 19,506 people who tested positive for the illness and died in hospital.
* Poland plans to reopen outdoor sports areas on May 4 and will allow top league football matches to be played at the end of next month, as part of an easing of coronavirus restrictions.
* Spain’s daily coronavirus deaths fell to the lowest in more than a month on Friday, prompting the government to declare the most acute phase of the epidemic over as it prepared criteria to ease one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.
* With the U.S. coronavirus death toll topping 51,000 and nearly one in six workers out of a job, Georgia, Oklahoma and several other states took tentative steps at reopening businesses on Friday, despite disapproval from President Donald Trump and medical experts.[nL2N2CC0K1
* Makers of household cleaners took the unusual step of urging people not to drink or inject their products, after Trump suggested researchers try using them to cure COVID-19 patients.
* A key U.S. government trial of Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental coronavirus treatment may yield results as early as mid-May, according to the study’s lead investigator, after doctors clamored to enroll their patients in the study.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems.
* The Indian government allowed a limited reopening of shops in neighbourhoods and residential areas from Saturday, more than a month after the nation went into a lockdown, officials said.
* Nearly 150 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed among crew members of an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan after health authorities finished testing everyone on board, an official said on Saturday.
* Tokyo reported 103 new cases of coronavirus infections on Saturday, Kyodo news reported, amid concerns that the start of a holiday season could lead to an increase in infections.
* China’s northwestern province of Shaanxi reported on Saturday seven new imported coronavirus cases, all in citizens returning home from Russia, even as domestic cases in the country were largely curbed.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The holy month of Ramadan began on Friday with Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem largely empty.
* South Africa plans to reopen its agriculture sector and allow some manufacturing and retail to resume as the country balances the need to restart economic output and curb the spread of the new coronavirus, trade minister Ebrahim Patel said on Saturday.
* Low cost airline Wizz Air said it would restart some flights from London’s Luton Airport on May 1, becoming one of the first European carriers to begin to restore services which have been grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.
* EU countries will soon be able to grant subordinated debt to prop up virus-hit economies, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday, as state aid regulators once again loosened rules to make it easier for companies get state support.
* The Greek economy, hit by coronavirus restrictions, is expected to shrink by 5-10% this year, the country’s finance minister said on Saturday.
* Senior World Bank officials warned that developing economies could see a deeper recession than currently expected if consumption and investment do not rebound quickly after the pandemic.
* Global equity benchmarks struggled on Friday as some U.S. states began reopening businesses despite the disapproval of health experts, and as the European Union put off addressing details of its new economic rescue plan. [MKTS/GLOB]
(Compiled by Frances Kerry)