(Reuters) - Oklahoma's Kevin Stitt became the first U.S. governor to test positive for COVID-19, while the country's leading expert on infectious diseases said he was confident the United States will meet its goal of a vaccine by the year's end.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* 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.
* Barcelona may bring back some restrictions on daily life after the number of coronavirus cases tripled in a week.
* Sweden said its decision to keep schools open did not spur pandemic spread among children.
* Belgium postponed a further easing of rules on social gatherings after an uptick in the number of infections.
* Ireland has delayed the planned opening of bars and nightclubs by three weeks to Aug. 10.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed on Wednesday to holding an inquiry into the country's handling of the coronavirus crisis but said now was not the time.
* Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters he has tested positive for coronavirus again.
* Argentina has suspended exports to China from six meat packing plants after COVID-19 cases were found among their employees.
* Leftist guerrillas and criminal organizations have attacked and killed civilians while enforcing curfews and quarantines across Colombia.
* Canada is on the cusp of zero deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since March, but officials see worrying signs of a new spike as provinces lift restrictions.
* Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is enforcing partial coronavirus restrictions in the capital for another two weeks.
* Australia's most populous states will impose harsher restrictions on movement if a COVID-19 outbreak is not quickly bought under control.
* Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a plan for government grants for all Israelis amid growing public anger over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
* Health experts put Tokyo on the highest alert for infections, alarmed by a recent spike in cases to record levels, while Tokyo's governor said the situation was "rather severe".
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa's cases of COVID-19 crossed 300,000, the most in Africa and among the 10 highest in the world.
* COVID-19 has killed four Kenyan health workers and infected 450, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as word emerged of a slew of cases in Kenya's biggest maternity hospital.
* The U.S. government will buy Becton, Dickinson and Co's COVID-19 testing devices and kits, the company said.
* The Lancet medical journal said it will publish keenly awaited phase 1 clinical trial data on a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University on Monday.
* Russian scientists hailed the results of their first clinical trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying it had been proved safe and that volunteers had developed an immune response.
* World shares strode to four-month highs on Wednesday as hopes for a coronavirus vaccine offset rising U.S.-China tensions and also helped lift the euro and oil prices on improved sentiment. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The coronavirus pandemic will swell the ranks of the poor and unemployed in Latin America and the Caribbean and drag the region´s economic output down by 9.1%, a United Nations agency said.
* Canada's economic growth will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022, the Bank of Canada said.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland, Devika Syamnath and Ramakrishnan M; Edited by Subhranshu Sahu, Tomasz Janowski and Arun Koyyur)