* A United Nations body says nearly three billion of the world’s poorest people should receive a temporary basic income to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
* The pandemic has killed at least 627,307 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, with more than 15.2 million people infected, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT on Thursday based on official sources.
* The United States has the most deaths with 143,190, followed by Brazil with 82,771, Britain with 45,501, Mexico with 41,190 and Italy with 35,082.
* The small, neighbouring sheikhdoms of Bahrain and Qatar have the world’s highest per-capita rates of coronavirus infections. In Qatar, a new study found that nearly 60% of those testing positive showed no symptoms at all. In Bahrain, authorities put the asymptomatic figure even higher, at 68%.
* Pfizer, which has struck a nearly $2 billion deal with the US government to deliver 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with its German partner BioNTech, is hoping to seek regulatory approval for a vaccine “as early as October” this year and have a vaccine on the market by year-end.
* South Africa has recorded a jump of 59 per cent in overall numbers of natural deaths in recent weeks, fuelling suspicions of a much higher toll of coronavirus-related fatalities than officially reported.
* Britain’s world-leading theatre industry faces mass redundancies and venue closures resulting from the coronavirus lockdown, lawmakers say.
* China continues to see newly confirmed coronavirus cases in its northwestern region of Xinjiang. More than 50 people have been infected in China’s latest outbreak focused on Xinjiang’s regional capital and largest city of Urumqi. The Asian giant also plans to provide a $1 billion loan to make its coronavirus vaccine accessible for countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.
* Pakistan has witnessed a decline in the number of coronavirus cases after the government implemented a “smart lockdown” in various cities.