FACTBOX: The latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, with Thursday's 150 000 new cases the highest in a single day and nearly half of those in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 8.69 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 459 604 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1000 GMT on Saturday.
* British finance minister Rishi Sunak signalled that the government is poised to relax its two-metre social distancing rule for England which businesses have said in its current form would slow their recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.
* Pope Francis held his first audience for a group of people since Italy lifted its lockdown, granting it to health workers from the Italian region most affected by the pandemic.
* Scientists in Italy have found traces of the coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019 - suggesting Covid-19 was already circulating in northern Italy before China reported the first cases.
* Amid a still-strong pandemic and after weeks of protests about racial inequality, President Donald Trump will hold a rally with thousands of supporters in Oklahoma on Saturday in an effort to reinvigorate his re-election campaign. Troubling spikes in infection rates were reported on Friday in several US states.
* Hopes that sport in the United States might soon return to business as usual suffered a blow on Friday as athletes from golf to hockey tested positive for the coronavirus, triggering a shutdown of some facilities.
* Brazil passed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday and approached 50 000 deaths, a new nadir for the world's second worst-hit country as it struggles with a tense political climate and worsening economic outlook.
* Officials in Beijing are carrying out tests to detect traces of coronavirus on all food and parcel delivery workers in an effort to rein in a new outbreak, state-backed media reported.
* India reported a record jump in coronavirus infections, a day after the government in the capital New Delhi ordered hospitals to cancel any leave and have workers return to duty immediately.
* Indonesia's oldest zoo reopened, but to a fraction of the normal number of visitors, after being forced to close more than three months ago because of the pandemic.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Saudi Arabia will end a nationwide curfew and lift restrictions on businesses from Sunday morning after three months of lockdown, state news agency SPA quoted a source in the interior ministry as saying.
* President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had lost some ground in its coronavirus battle but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year.
* A sixth experimental vaccine from China is now being tested in humans after Clover Biopharmaceuticals said an early-stage study of its candidate was underway with vaccine boosters from UK's GSK and US-based Dynavax.
* Several US hospitals have started treating patients with dexamethasone rather than await confirmation of preliminary results of a British study, which said the inexpensive steroid saves lives.
* The European Central Bank's chief said the European Union's economy is in a "dramatic fall" due to the coronavirus crisis but EU leaders made little progress towards agreeing a massive stimulus plan.
* Two US Federal Reserve officials sounded increasing pessimism on the swiftness of any economic recovery from the epidemic and said the unemployment rate could rise again if the disease is not brought under control.
* Russia's central bank slashed interest rates on Friday to the lowest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union.Reuters