(Reuters) - European governments are working with the United States on plans to overhaul the World Health Organization, a top health official for a European country said, signalling that Europe shares some of the concerns that led Washington to say it would quit.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 8.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 453,778 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1022 GMT on Friday.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see MacroVitals (cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098) for a case tracker and a summary of developments.
* Traces of the coronavirus in a sewage study suggests COVID-19 was already circulating in Northern Italy before China reported the first cases.
* The death rate in England and Wales is higher among people who identify as Muslims, Jews, Hindus or Sikh than Christians or those with no stated religion, Britain's statistics office said.
* The UK might need to temporarily suspend the wages-pensions link due to the big swings in earnings growth that are likely due to COVID support measures, a senior legislator said, as Britain lowered its alert level to "epidemic" from "exponential".
* Germany's coronavirus tracing app has been downloaded 9.6 million times, a government spokeswoman said.
* Norway, which has some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe, must maintain tight control of its borders to avoid importing cases from abroad, its prime minister said.
* Russia on Friday reported 7,972 new cases on Friday, after it steeply revised up the number of medical workers who died after contracting COVID-19.
* The situation in Polish coal mines has stabilized after a rapid increase in new cases in the past few weeks, deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin said.
* Several U.S. hospitals in hard-hit states have started treating patients with dexamethasone rather than await confirmation of preliminary results of a study by British researchers, who said the inexpensive steroid saves lives.
* The spread of the virus in Buenos Aires' so-called "villas" underscores how millions of often informal workers in Latin American cities are struggling to stick to isolation measures and stay financially afloat.
* China has released genome sequencing data for the coronavirus responsible for a recent outbreak in Beijing, with officials saying it identified a European strain based on preliminary studies.
* China's latest plans to overhaul its disease control system may not improve its ability to handle future virus outbreaks, according to some experts inside and outside the country.
* Indonesia announced a tax break for manufacturers of personal protective equipment and household antiseptic products.
* Australia's second most populous state of Victoria recorded a double-digit rise in new cases for the third straight day on Friday, raising doubts about how quickly the economy can resume.
* Japanese shoppers queued at Uniqlo stores and crashed its website as the clothing chain began selling face masks with breathable fabric used in the brand's popular underwear.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Madagascar has announced a stimulus package offering close to a million small businesses secure loans at below market rates.
* The new coronavirus pandemic hit Cape Town much earlier than previously assumed, a senior health official said.
* A sixth experimental vaccine from China is now being tested in humans after Clover Biopharmaceuticals said an early-stage study of its candidate was underway with vaccine boosters from UK's GSK and U.S. based Dynavax.
* The dollar recovered overnight losses and European stocks rose on Friday, even as coronavirus cases increased in some countries, as markets reassessed expectations for an economic recovery before a key European Union meeting. [MKTS/GLOB]
* European Central Bank head, Christine Lagarde, told EU leaders their economy was in a "dramatic fall" and called on the bloc to act to spearhead revival, diplomatic sources and officials said.
* EU leaders began the process of approving an unprecedented stimulus package, aware of the need to deliver help quickly, but still divided over its final size and terms.
* Around 6.4 million Indonesians have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and new rounds of layoffs are likely to hit by August, the country's chamber of commerce and industry said.
* Bankruptcy filings in Hong Kong rose to a 17-year high, records showed on Friday.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland, Devika Syamnath and Amy Caren Daniel, Editing by Maju Samuel and Anil D'Silva and Tomasz Janowski)