What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

campaigns to Michigan crowd, defying state coronavirus safety rules

U.S. President Donald predicted at a rally in Michigan on Thursday that he would win the election battleground state as thousands of cheering, largely maskless supporters defied state guidelines aimed at containing the novel coronavirus.

criticized Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus restrictions, saying she "doesn't have a clue" about reopening the state's economy, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Whitmer's office had no immediate comment on the event, which appeared to violate state guidelines requiring social distancing and limiting large crowds. She told a news conference earlier Thursday she was concerned about plans for the rally, and would keep close tabs on infection rates in the region.

Philippine presidential spokesman links U.S. Marine pardon to vaccine access

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to pardon a United States Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman nearly six years ago may have stemmed from his desire to get access to coronavirus vaccines being developed by U.S. firms, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Duterte on Monday pardoned Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was serving a six- to 10-year sentence for killing Jennifer Laude near a former U.S. navy base in 2014, sparking condemnation from activists who described the move as a "mockery of justice".

The spokesman, Harry Roque, who served as lawyer in the prosecution of Pemberton, had likened Laude's killing to the "death of Philippine sovereignty". On Thursday, he said: "I think this pardon, although this is my personal opinion, was to ensure Filipinos would benefit from a vaccine against COVID-19 should the Americans develop one. I don't see any problem with that".

Coronavirus aid bill killed in U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate on Thursday killed a Republican bill that would have provided around $300 billion in new coronavirus aid, as Democrats seeking far more funding prevented it from advancing.

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House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters before the failed Senate vote on Thursday that she thought negotiations could still produce a compromise before the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections. But after the vote, several Republican senators were skeptical.

Congress is now expected to mainly focus its work on other pressing legislation so members can return to their home states in October to campaign for re-election.

World must scale up clinical trials, says WHO

The head of the World Health Organization urged countries on Thursday to contribute resources that can expedite products which may help stem the coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO's ACT-Accelerator programme already supports research into potential vaccines, drugs and diagnostics, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online event.

"But we need to rapidly scale up our clinical trials, manufacturing, licensing and regulation capacity so that these products can get to people and start saving lives," he said.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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