FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of coronavirus
(Updates with new developments)
Oct 23 (Reuters) - Europe faces a lengthy battle against COVID-19 at least until mid-2021, France warned after its confirmed cases crossed one million, while researchers said U.S. deaths could hit half a million by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* Belgium, one of the European countries worst hit by COVID-19, tightened curbs on social contacts by banning fans from sports matches and limiting numbers in cultural spaces.
* Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis moved to sack his health minister for holding a meeting in a restaurant closed under government restrictions.
* Denmark is lowering the limit on public gatherings to 10 people from 50 and banning the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m.
* Italy has registered 19,143 new infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, the highest daily tally since the start of the outbreak.
* Mexico's health ministry said six of its 32 federal entities are now showing signs of new outbreaks, after previously bringing down the number of infections.
* The Peruvian government refused to sign a vaccine purchase agreement with AstraZeneca because it did not provide sufficient data from its studies and offered minimal amounts of inoculations.
* Brazil's Sao Paulo governor Joao Doria said that the federal health regulator Anvisa told him that they will not bow to political pressure over the approval of potential coronavirus vaccines.
* India is urgently preparing a database of all government and private health personnel to quickly vaccinate them once it is safe to do so.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran is planning new restrictions, including state employees working every other day in the capital Tehran, after a record surge in cases on Friday, a senior official said.
* Turkey will evaluate possible new measures as the outbreak flares, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
* Health officials reviewing Gilead Science Inc's remdesivir against COVID-19 should consider all evidence, including a trial where the medicine failed, before giving it the green light, the top WHO scientist said.
* AstraZeneca Plc has resumed the U.S. trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after approval by U.S. regulators, the company said.
* Euro zone economic activity has slipped back into decline this month as renewed restrictions forced many businesses in the bloc's dominant service industry to limit operations.
* Consumer confidence in Brazil fell in October for the first time in six months, a survey indicated, with persistent worries over the pandemic weighing heavily and suggesting that the economy's recovery may be losing steam.
(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Maju Samuel)
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