Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Customers are seen inside a private COVID-19 testing clinic in a busy shopping area, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London
·3 min read

(Reuters) - The Chinese city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province has suspended some public gatherings and dining at restaurants, closed multiple entertainment venues and locked down some areas to cope with COVID-19 flare-ups, the city government said.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, click on COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news. cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Macau's government said people could enter the neighbouring mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai without quarantine, a further relaxation of stringent COVID-19 policies as the world's biggest gambling hub seeks a return to normalcy.

* Mainland China reported 436 new coronavirus cases for Aug. 2, of which 101 were symptomatic and 335 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said.

EUROPE

* The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is recommending Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation, an added burden for a shot that has so far failed to win wide uptake.

* The European Commission said on Tuesday it signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the EMA.

AMERICAS

* U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive again for COVID-19, his physician Kevin O'Connor said in a memo released by the White House, adding that the test was taken after Biden finished a light workout.

* Regeneron Pharmaceuticals reported a 72.5% fall in quarterly profit on Wednesday, hurt by lacklustre sales of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail after the U.S. FDA decided to limit its use earlier this year.

* A petition is circulating to allow tennis star Novak Djokovic to play at the U.S. Open, but he appears likely to miss the entire North American hardcourt season barring a sudden change in COVID protocols in the United States and Canada.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The Omicron variant may be more efficient at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus, a small study suggests.

* A trial aimed at tackling long COVID helped some patients recover from lingering physical and mental fatigue, although the drug developed by Axcella Health Inc failed on the small study's main goal of restoring the normal function of mitochondria, the energy factories of cells.

* As another winter of the pandemic looms in the northern hemisphere, scientists are warning weary governments and populations to brace for more waves of COVID-19.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global oil demand has almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state TV channel Rossiya-24 after OPEC+ members agreed to slightly increase its production target next month.

* British services sector activity grew in July at the slowest pace since early 2021, when the country was under a coronavirus lockdown, although there was an easing of surging price pressures, a survey showed.

* China's services activity grew at the fastest rate in 15 months in July as easing COVID-19 curbs boosted consumer confidence, but foreign demand fell and companies cut staff for the seventh month in a row, a private-sector survey showed.

* Japan's services sector activity almost completely stagnated in July, as rising inflation and growing economic uncertainty weighed on sentiment, while firms also said a boost from the lifting of COVID-19 curbs had faded.

* Australian retail sales posted a solid rise in real terms last quarter even as swelling prices ate up more of the consumer dollar, though there are signs that higher borrowing costs are finally turning the tide on spending.

(Compiled by Olivier Sorgho and Rashmi Aich; Edited by Nick Macfie, Shounak Dasgupta and Bill Berkrot)