Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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(Reuters) - The European Commission approved Pfizer's antiviral pill for COVID-19, while a British health agency said Omicron's BA.2 subtype appears to have a substantial growth advantage over the currently predominant BA.1 type.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* Germany has the wave of Omicron infections "well under control" and may consider lifting some restrictions after a peak in late February.

* The estimated range of England's COVID-19 reproduction "R" number has fallen to between 0.7 and 0.9, the UK Health Security Agency said.

* Britain will start rolling out Pfizer's COVID-19 pill to vulnerable people next month.

* As the Omicron variant swept Italy late last year, it was unvaccinated elderly people and those who had not had a booster dose four or more months after their initial shots who were most likely to go to hospital or die from COVID-19, according to data and doctors.

AMERICAS

* Canada has moved past the worst of Omicron on some parameters, but hospitalizations continue to rise, its top health official said.

* Brazilian health regulator Anvisa approved the sale of COVID-19 self-tests in the country's drugstores.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* The Philippines will grant entry to visitors vaccinated against COVID-19 from Feb. 10, its government said, in an effort to boost a tourism sector decimated by the pandemic.

* India's capital Delhi lifted a weekend curfew and allowed restaurants and marketplaces to reopen, following a sharp drop in new infections.

* Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Friday with nearly 100 deaths, but several large states said they expect hospital admissions to fall.

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

* Nigeria's vaccine rollout has slowly gained pace as public confidence increases and the government has assured citizens they will not receive expired doses.

* Israel has signed a deal to buy 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Novavax, its health ministry said

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said six lab studies showed their experimental oral COVID-19 drug was active against Omicron.

* A COVID-19 vaccine that can be produced locally in low- and middle-income countries is yielding promising results in early clinical trials, researchers say.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global equity markets eked out gains on Friday at the end of a tumultuous week dominated by concerns over the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.[MKTS/GLOB]

* U.S. consumer spending fell in December, suggesting the economy lost speed heading into the new year amid snarled supply chains and raging COVID-19 infections, while annual inflation increased at a pace last seen nearly 40 years ago.

* Morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers fell sharply in January as the coronavirus crisis persists and high energy prices weigh on companies and households.

(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Valentine Baldassari; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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