Millions of Americans appeared to be disregarding public health warnings and travelling ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, while German states planned a relaxation of restrictions to allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year.

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.

EUROPE

* The European Commission has reached a deal with U.S. biotech firm Moderna for the supply of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, an EU official told Reuters.

* The European Medicines Agency could produce a scientific opinion on COVID-19 vaccines seeking regulatory approval by the end of the year in a best case scenario.

* Italian prime minister warned citizens not to go skiing during the holidays.

* England will introduce a new system on Dec. 15 allowing passengers arriving from high-risk countries to take a COVID-19 test after five days of quarantine and to be released from any further self-isolation if they test negative.

* Polish scientists have identified eight cases of COVID-19 in mink at a farm in the north of the country.

AMERICAS

* Mexican church and civic leaders cancelled an annual gathering that attracts massive crowds of Catholic pilgrims to protect people.

* Canada could approve one or more COVID-19 vaccines early in the first quarter of 2021, under a new, accelerated process similar to the U.S. emergency use authorization.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Australia prepared to lift more internal border curbs to boost tourism as it plans to obtain its first vaccines in March.

* Malaysia said it would close some factories of the world’s biggest rubber glove maker as more than 2,000 of its workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

* The Japanese government is preparing to pause its domestic travel campaign in two cities following sharp rises in COVID-19 cases.

* Hong Kong will close bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues for the third time this year.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Iran reported a record high 13,721 new cases and a near-record 483 deaths in the past 24 hours.

* Nigeria will bar passengers who fail to follow the country’s COVID-19 protocol from flying for six months.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and Moscow aims to produce more than a billion doses at home and abroad next year, its backers and developers said.

* AstraZeneca must prove its claim that its potential vaccine has the lowest price of the main candidates so far, non-governmental organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres said.

* Brazil has gathered enough infection data from a late-stage trial of an experimental vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech and expects to have interim results on its efficiency in early December.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Stocks, oil and risk currencies including bitcoin gained as the formal go-ahead for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition burnished a November already boosted by COVID-19 vaccines.

* The German EU presidency is optimistic about finding a solution to the European Union budget row within days, releasing billions of euros to help economies hit by the pandemic.

* The European Central Bank warned of painful “cliff effects” for households and companies if governments and regulators phase out the economic support they have provided to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

* British retail sales fell by the most since June during this month’s lockdown across the bulk of the country, though the decline was less than most economists feared.

(Compiled by Milla Nissi, Ramakrishnan M. and Devika Syamnath, Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila, Shounak Dasgupta and Alexandra Hudson)

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