More than 12.59 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 560,026​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

EUROPE

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell employers next week to start ordering staff back into their places of work, as long as it is safe to do so, in order to stem the coronavirus hit to the economy, the Daily Mail said.

* Croatia said wearing face masks will be obligatory in most closed public spaces from next week as the number of COVID-19 cases keeps rising.

AMERICAS

* California will release up to 8,000 inmates early from state prisons to slow the COVID-19 spread inside facilities, state authorities said on Friday.

* Bolivian President Jeanine Anez and Venezuelan Socialist Party leader Diosdado Cabello have tested positive for COVID-19.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Australia’s second most-populous state, Victoria, reported one of its highest daily increases in infections and warned the numbers would get worse before they got better as its capital city began its first weekend of a six-week lockdown.

* Vietnam’s most seriously ill COVID-19 patient, a British pilot who at one point seemed close to death, left hospital on Saturday on his way home after a dramatic recovery that attracted national attention.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in infections, but insisted the country’s economy had to stay open.

* The premier of Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province, said he had tested positive for the coronavirus, as new confirmed infections in the country hit a record daily high.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates called for COVID-19 drugs and an eventual vaccine to be made available to countries and people that need them most, not to the “highest bidder,” saying relying on market forces would prolong the pandemic.

* India’s Biocon Ltd has received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab to be used on coronavirus infected patients suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress, the biopharmaceutical company said.

* Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics is in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch a Phase III trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, its co-founder said.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* The medium-term outlook for the Indian economy remains uncertain with supply chains and demand yet to be restored fully while the trajectory of the coronavirus spread and the length of its impact remain unknown, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

* China’s banks should brace for a big jump in bad loans due to coronavirus-induced economic pain, the financial regulator said, noting the deterioration of asset quality at some small and mid-sized financial institutions was accelerating.

Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: