(Reuters) - The European Commission has struck deals with drugmakers Roche and Merck KGaA to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19, a Commission source told Reuters on Wednesday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday laid out a vision of greater unity and democracy to ensure the European Union emerges stronger from the coronavirus crisis, which she called its biggest challenge.
* Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Wednesday it is essential the European Union stands strong in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on its economy.
* Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called on demonstrators to stop attending anti-government protests in order to halt the further spread of the coronavirus infections.
* Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday said the single European market could be at risk if the area's response to the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 epidemic were not "strong and coordinated".
* Megachurches and other religious organizations with ties to vocal supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump were approved for millions of dollars in forgivable loans from a taxpayer-funded pandemic aid bailout, according to government data.
* Chilean consumer prices fell 0.1% in June, the government's statistics agency INE said on Wednesday, as the cost of transportation, clothing and health care all sagged amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
* Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian nations are struggling with a surge in COVID-19 cases which is now testing their healthcare systems to breaking point after they relaxed tough lockdown restrictions in May.
* Uzbekistan will impose a second wave of lockdown restrictions between July 10 and Aug. 1.
* Thailand expects to delay plans for so-called travel bubbles given a resurgence in coronavirus infections in countries that had managed to contain the initial outbreak, a senior official told Reuters.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* In Africa, lack of coronavirus data raises fears of "silent epidemic".
* Iran has recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period, Health Ministry figures showed on Tuesday.
* Smiths Group will help produce a blood-based COVID-19 antibody test approved by Britain's healthcare regulator in the firm's latest involvement in tackling the coronavirus.
* As the World Health Organization acknowledged "evidence emerging" of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, a U.N. report warned that a rush by countries to buy personal protective equipment has created an opportunity for criminal groups, which are peddling sub-standard equipment and are likely to move on to medicines soon.
* Global stocks faltered on Wednesday as an increase in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the world undermined prospects for a quick economic recovery.
* British finance minister Rishi Sunak warned of hardship ahead on Wednesday as he set out plans to protect jobs and limit the economic impact of the coronavirus.
* International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva urged policymakers on Wednesday to use their response to the coronavirus pandemic to tackle climate change.
(Compiled by Anna Rzhevkina, Linda Pasquini, Devika Syamnath and Aditya Soni; Editing by Angus MacSwan)