(Reuters) - U.S. health authorities braced for further increases in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths on Friday as capping a week in which the spread of the coronavirus accelerated ahead Thanksgiving holiday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Cases in Europe surpassed 15 million, with the region reporting a million new infections about every four days as winter approaches.
* Germany reported record new cases, upping the pressure for stricter restrictions.
* Portugal's parliament approved a 15-day extension of a state of emergency from next week to allow continuation of coronavirus measures.
* Swiss doctors have urged those vulnerable to COVID-19 complications to record their wishes for end-of-life care in advance to help ease pressure on intensive care units, drawing criticism from an advocacy group.
* A substantial part of the Spanish population will be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first half of 2021, its prime minister said.
* A Russian commuter in St. Petersburg was found stabbed to death after an altercation on a bus with two passengers who refused to wear masks, Interfax reported.
* The Czech Republic will allow more children to go to school and ease some other restrictions.
* Canada is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, which could overwhelm the hospital system, its prime minister said, imploring Canadians to stay home as much as possible.
* Brazil is expected to pass 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as the world's third-worst coronavirus outbreak begins to surge again.
* The U.S. Treasury Secretary defended his decision to end several key pandemic lending programs on Dec. 31, saying Congress should use the money to help small U.S. companies with grants instead.
* South Korea's president said Asia Pacific countries should promote freer travel and trade despite the pandemic.
* Japanese health experts said the government should consider pausing a domestic travel campaign in some regions amid a record surge in cases as the nation heads into a holiday weekend.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey's daily death toll from the coronavirus hit a record high of 141, as the country braced for nationwide measures.
* People who have had COVID-19 are highly unlikely to contract it again for at least six months, according to a British study.
* The World Health Organization has suspended Gilead's remdesivir from its pre-qualification medicines list.
* Pfizer said it will apply to U.S. health regulators for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.
* Stocks were lower and bond yields slipped on concern about dwindling stimulus in the United States and the economic cost of rising COVID-19 infections around the world.
* G20 nations are determined to continue doing everything possible to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, warning in a draft communique that the global economic recovery remains "uneven, highly uncertain, and subject to elevated downside risks".
* Wealthy nations reiterated their opposition to a proposal to waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19 drugs, three trade sources said, despite pressure to make an exception to improve access to drugs for poorer countries.
* Bank loans totalling $1.03 trillion benefited from COVID-19 relief measures in the European Union, the bloc's banking watchdog said.
(Compiled by Aditya Soni and Sarah Morland; Editing by Nick Macfie and Arun Koyyur)