(Reuters) – Japan plans to secure enough coronavirus vaccines to inoculate its population four times over, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Commission was working on signing further contracts to secure vaccines.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, click https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T
* India reported 76,472 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, slightly lower than the record breaking numbers of the past couple of days, but extending a run that has made the country’s outbreak currently the world’s worst.
* South Korea recorded its 16th consecutive day of triple digit rises in new cases on Saturday, extending a second wave of infections that is fanning concerns about a shortage of hospital beds in Seoul.
* Australia’s Victoria state reported its lowest rise in cases in almost two months, but authorities said there would be no rush to lift social distancing restrictions.
* Berlin police disbanded a mass protest in the German capital against coronavirus curbs a few hours after it had begun after marchers failed to keep their distance and wear masks as instructed.
* France reported 7,379 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, the most since lockdown, in what the health ministry described as an exponential surge just days before millions of children are due to return to school for the first time since March.
* The Tour de France gives cyclists many tests from gruelling climbs to furious sprints but it is the one for COVID-19 that could hold the key to victory when the race starts on Saturday, says three-time champion Greg LeMond. If riders are to reach the finish line on Sept. 20 they must first navigate 3,484 km (2,165 miles) COVID-19 free.]
* President Donald Trump is willing to sign a $1.3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, a top Trump aide said on Friday, marking a $300 billion increase from an initial $1 trillion offer from the White House and Senate Republicans.
* Four people at the Republican National Convention in North Carolina this week tested positive for coronavirus, officials said.
* Argentina registered its highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday as the government partially relaxed nationwide lockdown measures.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Namibia will lift lockdown restrictions, allowing international travel, schools to reopen and onsite alcohol consumption from September, President Hage Geingob announced Friday, but he extended an overnight curfew as COVID-19 cases continue to rise
* Gambia extended by 21 days a state of emergency in mainland Africa’s smallest nation as infections surged.
* Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s coronavirus vaccine candidate CoronaVac was approved for emergency use as part of a programme in China to vaccinate high-risk groups such as medical staff, a person familiar with the matter said.
* Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit will begin mid-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany next week, Spain’s health minister said.
(Compiled by Frances Kerry)