(Reuters) - The head of an Indian company contracted to make AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine said India could get access to it by January, as the country's total infections crossed nine million. Mass production of Russia's second vaccine could begin in 2021.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread of COVID-19, open https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/ in an external browser.
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Britain could ease its stringent lockdown to allow families to gather for Christmas because there are signs that cases are starting to flatten.
* Some Russian hospitals are experiencing serious shortages of drugs used to treat COVID-19 and cannot restock because of panic buying, high demand and problems with a new labelling system.
* Ukraine said it hoped to receive 8 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of next year as it reported another daily record of 14,575 new cases.
* Public meetings of more than 20 people will be banned in the Helsinki region, Finnish authorities said. [L1N2I60IV]
* Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has died after contracting the coronavirus.
* California and Ohio ordered nightly curfews on social gatherings as the number of patients hospitalized in the United States jumped nearly 50% in two weeks.
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to pandemic relief for struggling businesses.
* Mexico registered 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths within days of passing one million infections.
* The coronavirus has spread rapidly through Brazil's largest indigenous reservation and more than a third of its 27,000 people could have been exposed.
* South Australia's six-day lockdown was triggered by a "lie" to contact tracers from a man who tested positive and restrictions across the state are set to be lifted much sooner than first planned.
* South Korea's prime minister pleaded with the public to avoid social gatherings and warned that tougher measures may be needed if infections are not quickly contained.
* Hong Kong reported a spike in daily cases to 26, two days before an arrangement with Singapore to allow a limited number of passengers to fly both ways without having to go through quarantine kicks in.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy at least 20 million doses of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech.
* Jordan is racing to increase hospital bed capacity as its healthcare system struggles to cope with a surge in new coronavirus cases.
* World Health Organization advised against the use of Gilead's remdesivir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Eli Lilly's arthritis drug, baricitinib, in combination with remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.
* AstraZeneca and Oxford University's potential vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, data published on Thursday showed.
* World stocks edged higher as hopes of economic recovery ahead helped offset the blow dealt by news that the U.S. Treasury was ending emergency loan programmes. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The World Trade Organization said global goods trade had rebounded sharply in the third quarter from lockdowns, but forecast a slowdown at the end of 2020.
* African countries face another debt crisis and will need more long-term help than the latest G20 debt plan offers them to ward off trouble ahead and keep much-needed investments coming in.
(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Nick Macfie)