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Latest on worldwide spread of COVID-19

The phased reopening of business and social life gained traction with more people emerging from coronavirus lockdowns, while an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, showed promise based on data from a small group.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* More than 4.81 million people have been reported to have been infected globally and 317,719 have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0506 GMT on Tuesday.

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

EUROPE

* The European Union may give an initial green light in the coming days for sale of the drug remdesivir as a COVID-19 treatment, the head of its medicines agency said on Monday.

* A Franco-German proposal for a 500 billion euro coronavirus recovery fund would bring essential relief to the bloc's worst-hit nations, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Monday.

* Britain expanded its testing scheme on Monday to allow anyone aged over five with COVID-19 symptoms to book a test to see if they have the virus.

* Italian shops, restaurants and churches reopened their doors to spring sunshine, Greece welcomed visitors back to the Acropolis - and Spain hoped for tourists to return in summer in cautious steps to ease virus lockdowns.

* Northern Ireland gently eased its coronavirus restrictions, allowing small groups to meet outside and churchgoers to pray alone.

AMERICAS

* US President Donald Trump threatened to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days.

* Businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area may open for manufacturing, retail with curbside pickup and warehouse distribution.

* WHO said an independent review of the global coronavirus response would begin as soon as possible and it received backing and a hefty pledge of funds from China.

* Mexico published guidelines for restarting operations in the automotive, mining and construction sectors.

* Some New York City neighbourhoods have seen death rates from the virus nearly 15 times higher than others, according to data released by New York City's health department on Monday.

* Brazil on Monday said it had a total of 254,220 confirmed cases, overtaking Britain to become the country with the third-highest number of infections behind the US and Russia.

* Trump said he is taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus despite medical warnings about the use of the malaria drug.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* China reported six confirmed cases for May 18, including a new case in Wuhan, the country's health authority said on Tuesday, compared to seven a day earlier.

* Cases in India reached 100,000 on Tuesday, matching the number of intensive care unit beds in the country, while the rate of growth of new infections showed little sign of slowing.

* India's capital New Delhi and some other state governments on Monday ordered the reopening of public transport in a further easing of a nearly two-month shutdown.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The United Arab Emirates will extend a nightly curfew by two hours starting this week after reporting an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

* Qatar tightened restrictions on commercial activities on Monday, ordering all shops to close until the end of the month as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* The global economy will take much longer to recover fully from the shock caused by the pandemic than initially expected, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.

* Economic conditions in Japan will likely stay tough in the current quarter, Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

* Australia is facing an "unprecedented" economic contraction due to the coronavirus pandemic, minutes from the country's central bank's last meeting showed.

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