vchal/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 183,000 people worldwide.Over 2.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 842,000 diagnosed cases and at least 46,785 deaths. Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:7:02 a.m.: All frontline workers in Los Angeles can now get tested for COVID-19The city of Los Angeles is expanding its criteria for who is eligible to get free testing for the novel coronavirus.Starting Thursday, all of the city’s frontline workers can get tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who made the announcement at a press briefing Wednesday night, said the frontline workers include health care professionals, first responders, grocery store workers and critical government personnel.“We wish we could open that up to everybody, but I think we all know that we have firefighters and police officers, doctors, nurses, janitors at hospitals, folks that are in grocery stores and pharmacies that are putting themselves out on the line,” Garcetti said. “And we want to make sure they are healthy, that they have the peace of mind knowing they’re healthy, and because they interact with so many people, that we can make sure they are not spreading it.”The city’s public testing sites have the capacity to test 12,200 people per day, according to Garcetti.6:25 a.m.: France wants all retailers to reopen next monthThe French government wants all shops — except bars, cafes and restaurants — to be able to reopen once a nationwide lockdown ends next month.“We want all retailers to be able to open on May 11 in the same way out of fairness,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio on Thursday. “I would only set aside restaurants, bars and cafes that will need special treatment because they are a place of mixing.”Le Maire noted that protocols would have to be implemented to protect both workers and customers. It’s still unclear whether the reopening would be feasible nationwide or only by region, he said.French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the country’s lockdown, which was put in place on March 17 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, will be extended until May 11 and gradually lifted thereon.France has recorded more than 157,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and over 21,000 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.5:50 a.m.: Germany is on ‘thinnest ice,’ Angela Merkel warnsGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that her country is “still at the beginning” of the coronavirus pandemic and citizens must maintain discipline.“We are still far from out of the woods,” Merkel said while addressing the German parliament Thursday.More than 150,000 people in Germany have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 5,315 of them have died from the disease so far, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. It’s a relatively low death toll compared to other European countries like France and Italy that have similar caseloads but fatalities have soared past 20,000.Germany’s federal and state governments recently agreed to relax some of the social distancing measures put in place to combat the outbreak, including permitting smaller shops to reopen this week.“It is precisely because the figures give rise to hope that I feel obliged to say that this interim result is fragile,” Merkel said. “We are on thin ice, the thinnest ice even.”3:30 a.m.: American Red Cross will soon use antibody tests to ID plasma donorsStarting next week, the American Red Cross will offer antibody tests for people who suspect they were previously infected with the novel coronavirus and are interested in donating their blood plasma — a potential game-changer in the treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.“That completely changes the landscape,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, told ABC News in an interview Wednesday.While there is no guarantee that antibodies to this new virus actually provide immunity, doctors are hopeful that patients severely sickened with COVID-19 can benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from those who have recovered from the disease. The therapy, known as convalescent plasma, is a century-old technique used for treating epidemics.At the moment, an individual who wishes to donate blood plasma for the experimental convalescent plasma therapy must have documentation of a positive COVID-19 test. The lack of diagnostic tests available has led hospitals and donation centers to say they are in desperate need of donors.“Qualifying and getting the right donors into our centers to donate is one of the biggest hurdles in this in this endeavor,” Young said.More than 30,000 people have requested to donate on the American Red Cross website, but only 2 to 3% actually qualify and meet the current criteria set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That donor pool could increase dramatically with the implementation of antibody testing at American Red Cross donation centers.“All of those (potential) donors who don’t have confirmed testing can now be tested,” Young said. “We can really cut through that time, which is so important.”Young explained that researchers and medical professionals have been in uncharted territory, “building the plane as you’re flying it.” But she said they’ve been working around the clock to streamline the process.“We really didn’t know what we were dealing with at the beginning as we were standing this up,” she told ABC News. “Now we’ve really resourced this project.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.