* India’s COVID-19 tally reached 18,762,976 on Friday, as 386,452 new cases were recorded during the past 24 hours, said the federal health ministry. Besides, as many as 3,498 deaths across the country since Thursday morning took the total death toll to 208,330.
* China’s aviation regulator said it would suspend an Air France flight from Paris to Shanghai for two weeks from May 10 due to COVID-19 cases.
* Japan is prepared to provide 300 respirators and 300 oxygen concentrators to India once talks are finalised, the chief cabinet secretary said.
* Brazil on Thursday became the second country to pass 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, after the United States.
* Russia has produced the world’s first batch of vaccines for animals, its agricultural regulator said.
* Indonesia’s drug regulator approved the vaccine of China’s Sinopharm, which it will use in a private immunisation scheme where companies buy government-procured vaccines to inoculate their staff.
* The Portuguese presidency of the European Union (EU) called on member states on Thursday to present “concrete actions” for “strong commitment to well-being in Social Europe” in a bid to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
* Italy on Thursday approved a recovery and resilience plan worth EUR222.1 billion (US$269 billion) which aimed at restarting the economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
* European lawmakers said on Thursday that the European Union’s (EU) planned “COVID-19 certificates” – and not “Digital Green Certificates” as proposed by the European Commission — aimed at facilitating travel across the bloc should be enough to enable free movement this summer.
* Britain said it would host a summit in 2022 to raise money for vaccine research and development to support an international coalition seeking to speed up the production of shots for future diseases.
* France detected its first cases of contamination with the B.1.617 variant, currently very present in India, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.
* Contract drugmaker Emergent BioSolutions said on Thursday it hopes to respond to US regulators within days on how to resolve problems at its Baltimore plant.
* World stocks held near a record high and the euro was on course for its best month in nine as strong US data and corporate earnings plus the Federal Reserve’s commitment to support the economy fuelled investors’ appetite for risk.
* The economies of Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy contracted in the first quarter, data showed, as restrictions to curb a third wave of coronavirus stifled output.
* Turkey’s tourism revenues fell 40% and foreign visitor arrivals dropped 54% in the first quarter, data showed.
* The Republic of Korea decided Friday to extend its tightened quarantine measures for three more weeks amid lingering worry about small cluster infections of COVID-19 in the Seoul metropolitan area.
* From May 2, Ukraine will impose an entry ban on non-nationals arriving from India, its deputy health minister said.
* Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said parts of the service economy will reopen as scheduled on Saturday as the country’s vaccination rate surpasses 40%.
* Costa Rica will for the next week close non-essential businesses across the centre of the country, the government said on Thursday.
* Uganda has detected the Indian variant, stirring fears the East African nation could suffer a resurgence of cases just when its outbreak has waned, a senior health official said.