Coronavirus: Latest from around the globe - Wednesday, September 16

A group of 50 Democratic and Republican members of Congress is due to unveil $1.5 trillion bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation on Tuesday, in an election year effort to break a month-long impasse in COVID-19 talks between the White House and top Democrats.

London judges, meanwhile, have ruled that some of the world's biggest insurers were wrong to reject tens of thousands of claims from small firms battered by the pandemic.

According to Worldometers, 29.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19, while 935,000 have died.

Europe

Britain's testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test in a potential threat to key health services.

Ireland delayed the planned reopening of all pubs in Dublin following a surge in cases in the capital, but bars across the rest of the country will be allowed to open next Monday.

The Netherlands recorded a daily record number of new infections, an increase of 1,379 in 24 hours.

Asia-Pacific

At least 17 Indian MPs have tested positive as cases in the country near five million.

South Korea said it planned to spend $146 million to procure coronavirus vaccines, initially aiming to secure a supply for 30 million people, or 60% of its population.

A Chinese border city launched tests for tens of thousands of residents, following two imported infections from neighbouring Myanmar which reported on Tuesday its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

Australia recorded its first day without a death in two months, as states lift restrictions.

Hong Kong will reopen bars, swimming pools and theme parks from Friday after a mass-testing scheme.

Middle East and Africa

South Africa plans no further easing of its coronavirus loan scheme criteria to stimulate uptake, meaning almost a third of the government's $30 billion relief package may end up going unused.

Nigerian health workers demanding the payment of a hazard allowance for treating coronavirus patients have gone on strike only a week after doctors in Africa's most populous country staged a walk-out.

Americas

President Donald Trump told Fox News he is not pressuring the U.S. government for a vaccine for political reasons.

Argentina's "positive rate", the number of daily infections to the number of tests carried out, has topped 50 percent, one of the highest in the world while Brazil registered 15,115 new cases on Monday and 381 additional deaths.

Medical developments

AstraZeneca has resumed COVID-19 vaccine trials in South Africa, more than a week after tests were paused due to serious side effects in a participant in Britain.

Some volunteers have quit Johnson & Johnson's vaccine trial in Spain after news of side effects in a participant in AstraZeneca's trial.

Germany awarded $745 million in funding to biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac to speed up work on COVID-19 vaccines and expand German production capacity.

US drug developer Novavax Inc said it was doubling its potential vaccine manufacturing capacity to two billion doses annually.

Economic impact

World stocks rose on Tuesday on the back of upbeat Chinese data and optimism about coronavirus vaccines as a struggling dollar kept the hot streaks for the euro and some of the biggest emerging market currencies sizzling.

Major oil industry producers and traders are forecasting a bleak future for worldwide fuel demand, due to the pandemic's ongoing assault on the global economy.

Britain's unemployment rate rose for the first time since lockdown began in March, a warning signal ahead of an expected surge in job losses when a huge government job subsidy programme expires next month.

Annual inflation in Nigeria rose in August for the 12th month in a row, reaching a more-than two-year high, as the pandemic disrupted the supply of goods and services.

Reuters