(Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was setting up an independent panel to review its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by governments worldwide.
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.
* The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 44,602 on Thursday, up 85 on the previous day, the government said.
* Twenty-six Irish pubs face possible prosecution and risk losing their licences over potential COVID-19 public health breaches, Irish police said.
* Hungary is going to review rules on cross-border travel to neighbouring countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise, the prime minister's chief of staff said.
* The Trump administration will not cut federal education spending but could allow families to use funds elsewhere if their school does not open amid the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. education secretary said.
* The pandemic has made it even harder for senior-care centers in the United States to find or afford standard liability insurance, with rates soaring by as much as 300%, insurance brokers said.
* The booming rooftop solar panel industry nosedived overnight when the coronavirus forced homeowners to cut spending and keep their distance from would-be installers.
* Mexico posted a record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world's eighth highest case count.
* Australia's second-most populous state will relax restrictions on many of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers despite surging numbers of cases.
* There is no need to reintroduce a state of emergency, Japan's top government spokesman said when asked about a record one-day rise in Tokyo coronavirus cases.
* Beijing reported no new confirmed coronavirus cases for July 8, the third straight day of no new cases.
* Just one person in a South Korean survey of more than 3,000 people showed neutralizing antibodies to the novel coronavirus, indicating the virus has not spread widely.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* African countries must carry out more testing and make people use masks, a regional disease control body said as cases topped half a million in the continent.
* Nigeria has dropped a plan to allow some pupils to return to school because of a continued increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, its education minister said.
* Moderna Inc said on Thursday it has signed an agreement with Spain's Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi SA to provide vial filling and packaging capacity for its potential COVID-19 vaccine to supply markets outside of the Unites States.
* The European Union wants to fast-track funding to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma collected from survivors, an EU document seen by Reuters shows.
* European shares rose on Thursday after a two-day wobble, as Chinese markets continued their charge, while investors propelled gold to a nine-year high.
* Global powers should cooperate better on monetary and fiscal policy to tackle the COVID-19 economic crisis, European Union finance ministers and central bankers will tell their G20 counterparts at a meeting next week.
* Concerns about renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the United States outweighed signs of a recovery in U.S. gasoline demand on Thursday to keep a lid on oil prices.
(Compiled by Anna Rzhevkina, Anita Kobylinska and Devika Syammnath; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Larry King and Tomasz Janowski)