Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – While warmer weather typically ends the annual flu season in temperate zones, climate alone has not stopped the COVID-19 pandemic from sweeping any part of the globe. In fact, outbreaks in hot and sunny Brazil and Egypt are growing.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Nearly 7.40 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 416,154 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 0736 GMT on Thursday.

* 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.

EUROPE

* European authorities are aiming to weed out dud antibody tests and crack down on companies that make false claims, sources told Reuters.

* Russia on Thursday reported 8,779 new cases, bringing its nationwide infection tally past the half million mark.

* France should speed up its gradual return to work and business activity, its finance minister said as new data showed the economy lost half a million jobs in the first quarter alone.

* In England, from Saturday, single adult households will be allowed to meet one other household and stay the night, which some newspapers took as an end to a so-called sex ban.

AMERICAS

* President Donald Trump said he will begin staging campaign rallies again as he seeks to rebound from a drop in opinion polls after his handling of the pandemic and mass protests against police brutality and racism.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Amazon and eBay to stop selling unproven or unsafe disinfectants on their platforms, Bloomberg reported.

* Latin America reported over 70,000 total deaths on Wednesday, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections. With another 1,274 fatalities, Brazil’s death toll reached 39,680, the world’s third highest after the United States and Britain.

* Brazilian prosecutors have stepped up an investigation into potential shortcomings in mining giant Vale’s efforts to protect workers from the coronavirus, authorities said.

* Cuba will test all visitors when it reopens to international tourism, which will be limited at first, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Beijing confirmed a new coronavirus case on Thursday, Chinese official media reported, the first confirmed case in the capital in nearly two months.

* India has lifted an export ban on hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug touted by Trump as a potential “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19.

* Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand in the next few months, the Yomiuri daily said.

* Australian officials warned Black Lives Matter protesters they could be fined or arrested if they breach coronavirus restrictions.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs called on law enforcement to speed up prosecution of rape cases which had reached an “alarming rate” three times the typical level as women and children are locked down with their abusers.

* From Kenya’s Masai Mara to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, rural communities that depend on safaris for income are seeing jobs disappear and investments wasted, while a slump in tourist dollars has hit conservation projects hard.

* In Yemen, where the United Nations and aid agencies say the coronavirus is spreading largely undetected, qat markets are still drawing crowds despite doctors’ concerns that chewing in groups and spitting the addictive green stimulant could spread the coronavirus.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* World shares took their biggest tumble in five weeks on Thursday as a sobering outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve challenged market optimism on the global economy, while bonds rallied on bets yet more stimulus would be needed to ensure recovery.

* The EU must reach a deal on a proposed 750 billion euro economic recovery plan by July, said France’s junior European Affairs minister.

* As central banks dive into yield curve control, Japan is drifting back to money printing to help pandemic-hit firms.

* Tanzania now expects its economy to grow by 5.5% in 2020 compared with a previous estimate of 4%, its finance minister said after the government moved to mitigate the economic impact.

* The IMF approved a $594 million emergency assistance package for Guatemala’s coronavirus response.

(Compiled by Sarah Morland; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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