A healthcare professional riding a bus, left, greets protesters as they break curfew and march along 34th Street in the Manhattan borough of New York. Picture: John Minchillo/AP
A healthcare professional riding a bus, left, greets protesters as they break curfew and march along 34th Street in the Manhattan borough of New York. Picture: John Minchillo/AP

The latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

By Reuters Time of article published Jun 5, 2020

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The European Union set up a unit of investigators to tackle an expected surge in financial crime in the economic downturn triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and crack down on defrauding of state subsidies.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* More than 6.66 million people have been reported infected with the new coronavirus globally and 390,648 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 0929 GMT on Friday.

EUROPE

* An influential medical journal article that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients was retracted on Thursday, adding to controversy around a drug championed by US President Donald Trump.

* Austria almost doubled the amount of debt it plans to issue this year as coronavirus-related emergency aid has helped drive up its borrowing needs by well over 20 billion euros.

* The Czech Republic agreed to fully open its borders with neighbours Austria and Germany and allow unrestricted travel to and from Hungary from noon.

AMERICAS

* A top US health official cautioned on Thursday that protests sweeping across the country could increase the spread of the coronavirus and that participants should "highly consider" getting tested.

* The number of coronavirus deaths in Brazil blew past Italy's toll on Thursday, while Mexico reported a record number of new cases, as regional leaders in Latin America push to end quarantine measures and kick their economies back into gear.

* Argentina extended a mandatory lockdown in Buenos Aires, the capital, and some other parts of the country until June 28, as confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise, surpassing 20,000 earlier in the day.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* The Bank of Japan is likely to maintain its projection that the economy will gradually recover in the latter half of this year, four sources familiar with its thinking said, heightening the chance it will forgo bold monetary easing steps at this month's rate review.

* Singapore plans to give a wearable device that will identify people who had interacted with carriers of coronavirus to all of its 5.7 million residents, in what could become one of the most comprehensive contact tracing efforts globally.

* Beijing's municipal government said it will lower its Covid-19 emergency response from level II to level III effective from Saturday, state media reported.

* Thailand is positioning itself as a trusted destination for international tourists after travel restrictions ease, capitalising on its relative success in containing the coronavirus outbreak, industry officials say.

* Malaysia's prime minister unveiled an additional economic stimulus package worth 35 billion ringgit ($8.22 billion) in a bid to revitalise industries.

* Indian drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said it was testing a plant-derived drug, AQCH, for the potential treatment of COVID-19 as part of a mid-stage trial, with results expected by October.

* The sparkle has returned to the Yamuna river flowing through India's capital of New Delhi, as industrial activity was brought to a halt late in March.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he decided to cancel a weekend lockdown announced late on Thursday after a public backlash.

* Turkey could extend a three-month ban on layoffs that was imposed in April, Hurriyet newspaper reported, citing unnamed officials.

* Air traffic resumed at Israel's principal airport after a strike by workers demanding compensation for wages lost due to the coronavirus crisis forced a brief shutdown, an airport spokeswoman said.

* South Africa has dehorned dozens of rhinos in three popular game parks, aiming to prevent armed poachers taking advantage of the post-Covid-19 crash in tourism to kill them for their horns.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* World stocks held their ground near three-month highs as the euro hit its highest level since March 10, thanks to Europe's stimulus boost, fuelling hopes for a global rebound.

* Norway's economy contracted 4.7% in April from March, but the outlook for the rest of the year now looks better than it did six weeks ago, Statistics Norway said.

* Germany should return to a balanced budget in the next legislative period, the economy minister told a magazine.

* Austrian economic output will shrink by 7.2% this year if there is no second coronavirus wave in the autumn, but even a resurgence milder than the first outbreak would deepen that to 9.2%, the country's central bank said.

* Spain's calendar-adjusted industrial output registered its worst contraction ever in April, data from the National Statistics Institute showed.

* Hungary's industrial output plunged by an annual 36.8% in April based on preliminary unadjusted data.

* The Philippines' unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7% in April, the statistics agency said.

* Singapore's finance minister said its unemployment rate could rise to a record of over 100,000 in 2020.

Reuters

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