Latest on worldwide spread of coronavirus

The US CDC has backed a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older.
The US CDC has backed a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older.

EUROPE

* England's COVID-19 weekly reproduction "R" number was estimated to have fallen to between 0.8 and 1.0, the government said, and the epidemic could be shrinking in the country.

* Norway will reopen society on Saturday, the government said, ending all remaining domestic restrictions that have limited social interaction and hobbled many businesses.

AMERICAS

* Booster shots to bolster immunity against the coronavirus would be free and accessible, US President Joe Biden said on Friday, a day after federal health agencies backed a booster rollout, and he pledged to get his own shot as soon as possible.

* The US CDC backed a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk working and institutional settings.

* The White House said millions of federal contractors must be vaccinated by December 8 and that the administration will add clauses to future government contracts mandating inoculations.

* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's son and two members of his cabinet said they had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing to four the number of close aides diagnosed since the far-right leader's trip to the United Nations.

* The vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech will be the only one used in Mexico for at-risk children aged 12-17, Mexico's deputy health minister said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Australia's vaccine rollout hit a major milestone on Friday, with half of the nation's population aged over 16 receiving both doses.

* South Korea has set a record for daily cases at 2434, breaking the previous record set last month, as the country grapples with a wave of infections that began in early July, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

* Singapore will tighten curbs to limit social gatherings to two people and make working from home a default, to try to contain a spike in infections and reduce pressure on the healthcare system.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Tunisia will entirely lift its nightly curfew from Saturday, the presidency said, after about a year in force.

* Egypt has authorised Russia's single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund which markets the shot abroad.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Sinovac's vaccine is highly effective against serious illness, although rival shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca showed better protection rates, a large real world study from Malaysia showed.

* Indian drugmaker Shilpa Medicare Limited has agreed to produce Cadila Healthcare Ltd's three-dose vaccine.

* Pfizer is in discussions with Singapore's Health Sciences Authority regarding a full license application for its vaccine, the company said in response to a query from Reuters.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* European equity markets fell and major US indexes were little changed as worries over fallout from debt-laden China Evergrande persisted, while US bond yields pushed higher after hawkish stances from central banks.

GLOBAL

DEATHS 4,749,312

CASES 231,781,273

RECOVERED 208,385,802

Australian Associated Press