Coronavirus cases reach 2.7 million worldwide; 189,970 death

Reported cases of the coronavirus have crossed 2.7 million globally and 189,970 people have died as of Friday, according to a Reuters tally.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

- The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill on Thursday.

- An array of US merchants in Georgia and other states prepared to reopen for the first time in a month.

- A preliminary survey of New York state residents found that nearly 14% of those tested had antibodies against the coronavirus.

- California recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

- Drugmaker Gilead disputed a report that said its experimental coronavirus drug failed a trial in China, saying results were inconclusive as the study was terminated early.

- Canada pledged new money to develop and eventually mass-produce vaccines.

- Costa Rica has for the past week reported a steady fall in the number of people currently infected.

- Ecuador's authorities added 11,000 new infections that resulted from delayed testing.

- Cuba's decades-old rationing system is staging a comeback in a bid to prevent virus transmission during frantic shopping hunts.

EUROPE

- France offered retailers some relief on Thursday, saying it wanted them to reopen when a nationwide lockdown ends on May 11.

- Spain's daily increase in fatalities further steadied at around 2%, as the government apologised for confusion over lockdown rules for children.

- Germany has chosen a home-grown technology for smartphone-based tracing of infections, putting it at odds with Apple Inc.

- Britain's health minister Matt Hancock promised to expand testing to all those considered key workers.

- Greece extended its general lockdown by a week to May 4.

- Irish hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients have fallen from an average of around 100 per day at the start of April to around 40 now.

ASIA-PACIFIC

- South Asia's infections have crossed 37,000, with more than half in India. - China is preparing to buy more than 30 million tonnes of crops for state stockpiles to help protect itself from supply chain disruptions.

- Thousands of Hong Kong students were among the first in the world to take their final secondary school exams on Friday, all wearing face masks and having their temperatures checked.

- As many as 91 crew of an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan's southwestern port of Nagasaki are infected with coronavirus. Tokyo's first drive-through coronavirus test centre was launched this week.

- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a strict lockdown in the capital Manila until May 15.

- Indonesia will temporarily ban domestic air and sea travel starting Friday, barring a few exceptions.

- Malaysia will extend travel and other curbs by two weeks to May 12.

- Australia will push for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic at next month's annual meeting of the World Health Assembly.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government will allow a partial reopening of the economy on May 1.

- The governors of Nigeria's 36 states agreed to ban interstate movement for two weeks.

- Algeria will ease confinement measures from the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on Friday.

- Israel's religiously devout Jews, who traditionally shun the use of internet or smartphones, are increasingly going online to shop, study and video chat.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

- Asian shares and US stock futures fell on Friday, spurred by doubts about progress in the development of drugs to treat COVID-19 and new evidence of US economic damage.

- The UK's government borrowing is soaring to the highest levels in peacetime history.

- The closure of bars and restaurants may have slashed global wine sales and winemakers' revenues in Europe by half.

- Japan's core consumer inflation eased in March for the second straight month.

- Half of German companies are using the government's short-time work facility as most see a decline in revenues.

- Italian government debt yields fell after EU leaders agreed to move towards joint financing of a recovery.

- Latin America's biggest economies, Brazil and Mexico, will likely struggle with increasing deficits this year.