Germany is to impose strict restrictions on social gatherings, as chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany could be facing more than 19,000 new infections a day by Christmas unless more efforts were made to curtail the spread of coronavirus. Authorities also imposed a minimum fine of €50 for anyone giving false contact details in bars and restaurants.

Ireland has warned of a severe hit to its coronavirus-struck economy if Brexit trade talks fail, saying a no-deal outcome would strip 3 percentage points from its rebound from the pandemic. Finance minister Paschal Donohoe said the economic damage from Covid-19 this year was now likely to be “less severe” than he had forecast in the spring.

The World Bank is set to offer $12bn in cheap financing to lower income countries to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, adding significantly to their ability to negotiate better access and lower prices from pharmaceutical companies. David Malpass, its president, said he had sought board approval for funding to provide “swift, fair and equitable access to vaccines”.

Spain’s government plans to impose new coronavirus restrictions throughout the country. The move — which would impose restrictions on movements and gatherings in urban areas with high levels of infection — comes after days of confrontation between the leftwing central government and the centre-right Madrid administration.

Greggs, the UK bakery chain, has said new store openings will outweigh closures this year despite pressing ahead with possible job cuts once the UK furlough scheme ends next month.Greggs, known for its sausage rolls and other pastries, said it hoped to grow its estate by a net 20 stores by the end of 2020 despite having closed 49 so far this year.

Novacyt, the Anglo-French biotech company whose fortunes have been transformed by the coronavirus pandemic, agreed to supply testing equipment and rapid coronavirus tests to the UK government. It will supply 300 polymerase chain reaction testing machines and test kits for £150m for the first 14 weeks. The tests are to be deployed in healthcare settings.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, Japan’s former state telecoms monopoly, is taking private the NTT DoCoMo mobile unit it listed 28 years ago in a $40bn deal, launching the country’s biggest ever tender offer in a bid to survive a price war and the 5G race, and as the coronavirus crisis forces a shift towards digital among Japanese businesses.

Argentine fintech Ualá is launching a push into Mexico, hoping to replicate the success it has experienced in its domestic market as the coronavirus crisis accelerates a move away from cash. The SoftBank-backed start-up, which offers debit cards and a digital payments service, wants to tap into Mexico’s large unbanked population.


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