(Reuters) – Reported cases of the coronavirus have crossed 2.73 million globally and 191,470 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT on Friday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* 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.
* With the U.S. coronavirus death toll topping 50,000, Georgia, Oklahoma and a handful of other states took the first tentative steps at reopening for business, despite the disapproval of President Donald Trump and health experts.
* The U.S. will send ventilators to three countries in Latin America – Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras – as well as to Indonesia, Trump said.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems.
* After passing $3 trillion of coronavirus relief, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress girded for a new battle over federal assistance to states and local governments.
* World leaders pledged to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share them around the globe, but the U.S. did not take part in the launch of the World Health Organization initiative.
* Doctors and health experts urged people not to drink or inject disinfectant after Trump suggested scientists should investigate inserting it into the body as a way to cure COVID-19.
* A key U.S. government trial of Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental coronavirus treatment may yield results as early as mid-May, according to the study’s lead investigator.
* Close to 20,000 people have died in hospitals in the United Kingdom after testing positive for the coronavirus, data showed.
* The crisis does not change European priorities in the Brexit negotiations, France’s European affairs minister said.
* The first infections in Italy date back to January, according to a scientific study, shedding new light on the origins of the outbreak in one of the world’s worst-affected countries.
* The Polish government said schools and kindergartens would remain closed until May 24 and said a second wave of infections could lie ahead.
* Spain’s daily deaths fell to the lowest in more than a month as the government prepared criteria to ease one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns from next month.
* Senior World Bank officials warned that developing economies could see a deeper recession than currently expected if consumption and investment do not rebound quickly after the pandemic.
* Thousands of people in overcrowded quarantine centres in government buildings across India are complaining about poor food and sanitation and lack of social distancing, inmates and officials say.
* South Korea outlined guidelines for a two-year return to a post-coronavirus normality including flexible working, bookings on public transport and quick restaurant meals in a country that has been a role model in containing COVID-19.
* Parts of India have recorded dramatic falls in mortality rates after a nationwide lockdown was imposed, suggesting there has not been an undetected surge in virus-related deaths.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The holy month of Ramadan began on Friday with Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem largely empty.
* Lebanon will extend a lockdown by two weeks until May 10 but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the economy would be reopened in gradual phases over the coming weeks.
* Botswana’s economy will shrink by around 13% this year while its budget deficit balloons due to the coronavirus impact on its diamond industry, Finance Minister Thapelo Matsheka said.
* South Africa’s finance minister said more than $4 billion was available from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for the country to help it fight COVID-19, playing down worries that the money would come with onerous conditions.
* Global equity benchmarks struggled on Friday as some U.S. states began reopening businesses despite the disapproval of health experts, and as the European Union put off addressing details of its new economic rescue plan. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The U.S. economy faces a bleak immediate future with gross domestic product likely contracting 12% in the second quarter and the federal deficit growing to $3.7 trillion, according to projections released by the Congressional Budget Office.
* The European Union is heading this year towards a 5%-10% economic contraction, EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Friday, adding that figure could get worse if “things don’t get better”.
* Russia’s central bank cut its benchmark rate and said there was scope for more rate cuts this year as the economy faces a plunge in oil prices and fallout from the outbreak.
* Zambia’s budget has been thrown into disarray by the economic blow from the outbreak and the government needs to take action to support businesses, President Edgar Lungu said.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland, Devika Syamnath and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Tomasz Janowski and Shounak Dasgupta)