The number of daily new cases reported has dropped below 500,000 for the first time since early October, but there are still 14,000 people dying every day from COVID-19.
Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world overnight.
Europe's medicines regulator is planning to speed up assessments of any COVID-19 vaccines that are modified to protect against variants of the virus, the head of the agency's COVID-19 task-force told Reuters on Friday.
A total of 14,012,224 Britons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, official data showed on Friday, as the government races to vaccinate the most vulnerable people.
Britain on Friday also reported 758 deaths within 28 days of a positive test and an additional 15,144 cases.
Britain's coronavirus-ravaged economy suffered its biggest crash in output in more than 300 years in 2020 when it slumped by 9.9 percent, but it avoided heading back towards recession at the end of the year and looks on course for a recovery in 2021.
Britain has reported Europe's highest death toll from COVID-19 and is among the world's highest in terms of deaths per head. The GDP fall is steeper than almost any other big economy's, though Spain - also hard-hit by the virus - suffered an 11 percent decline.
The estimated COVID-19 reproduction "R" number for Britain is now between 0.7 and 0.9, and the pandemic is shrinking, the health ministry said on Friday.
Greece on Friday extended the full lockdown imposed on metropolitan Athens earlier this week to more regions of the country in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections.
Effective on Saturday the region of Achaia in the northwest of the Peloponnese peninsula as well as Euboea, Greece's second-largest island after Crete, will be in lockdown until February 22 at least, authorities said. This means schools, hair salons and non-essential retail shops will close.
On Friday, health authorities reported 1,410 new coronavirus cases and 21 deaths, bringing total infections to 170,244 since the first case was detected in February last year and COVID-related deaths to 6077.
Italy reported 316 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday against 391 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 13,908 from 15,146 the day before. Italy has registered 93,045 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe.
The highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in Britain accounts for some 17.8 percent of all new infections in Italy, with the infection rate ticking up in many parts of the country, the health ministry said on Friday.
Germany will have difficulties making use of all available COVID-19 vaccines in April, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with broadcaster ZDF on Friday.
Once a 7-day coronavirus incidence of under 35 per 100,000 people is reached, further relaxations beyond the opening of shops may follow, she added. The number of new daily infections in Germany has been falling.
L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics group, forecast a strong rebound in makeup sales when the COVID-19 pandemic gives way to a "roaring 20s" when people get dressed up and go out again to socialise. Shares in L'Oreal, owner of brands such as Maybelline, Lancome and Garnier, rose on Friday after the group reported higher than expected fourth-quarter sales growth.
China has refused to give the World Health Organization (WHO) raw data on its early COVID-19 cases, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing WHO investigators, who it said described heated exchanges over lack of detail.
The world health agency officials said raw, personalised data could help them determine how and when the coronavirus first spread in China, the newspaper said.
All hypotheses are still open in the WHO's search for the origins of COVID-19, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Friday.
The state of Victoria has begun a five-day lockdown after the UK strain of the virus was detected in a new cluster linked to a quarantine facility. About 100 anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside the Australian Open tennis tournament.
Pakistan on Friday approved China's CanSino Biologics's (CanSinoBIO) COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, Health Minister Faisal Sultan said, the fourth candidate authorised in the South Asian nation of 220 million.
Pakistan is the second country to approve CanSinoBio after Mexico. Pakistan has recorded more than 550,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 12,000 deaths.
A US House committee on Thursday approved a proposal to give airlines another $14 billion in payroll assistance as part of a broader COVID-19 relief package that is working its way through Congress.
Middle East and Africa
Gabon has restricted travel in and out of its capital city, and expanded curfew hours to limit travel and slow the spread of coronavirus infections, Interior Minister Lambert Noel Matha said on Friday.
Reuters / Newshub.