- This daily news round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top news stories: Global total confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 400 million; WHO warns of rising COVID-19 cases in the Middle East; Legal requirement to self-isolate set to end in England.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 403.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.77 million. More than 10.27 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
Japan’s biggest wave of COVID-19 cases to date is showing signs of peaking, although authorities are extending virus curbs into next month to try to bring down the rate of hospitalizations.
Viet Nam has warned that its healthcare system could be overwhelmed, after seeing a surge in new COVID-19 cases following its Lunar New Year holiday.
The US government is planning to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 as soon as 21 February.
The governors of the US states of New York and Massachusetts have announced plans to end certain mask mandates.
The moves come as the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that COVID-19 hospitalization and case trends were encouraging, but that ‘we are not there yet’.
Sweden scrapped almost all of its few pandemic restrictions yesterday and stopped most testing for COVID-19, even as the pressure on the healthcare systems remained high and some scientists begged for more patience in fighting the disease.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that the legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive COVID-19 test could end as soon as February.
The COVID-19-related death toll in Turkey rose to 266 in the last 24 hours, the highest daily level in nearly five months, health ministry data showed on Wednesday.
New COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are beginning to go down in some countries in the Americas, but deaths continue to rise in parts of Central and South America, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said yesterday.
The COVID Response Alliance to Social Entrepreneurs – soon to continue its work as the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship – was launched in April 2020 in response to the devastating effects of the pandemic. Co-founded by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship together with Ashoka, Echoing Green, GHR Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and Yunus Social Business.
The Alliance provides a trusted community for the world’s leading corporations, investors, governments, intermediaries, academics, and media who share a commitment to social entrepreneurship and innovation.
Since its inception, it has since grown to become the largest multi-stakeholder coalition in the social enterprise sector: its 90+ members collectively support over 100,000 social entrepreneurs across the world. These entrepreneurs, in turn, have a direct or indirect impact on the lives of an estimated 2 billion people.
Together, they work to (i) mobilize support for social entrepreneurs and their agendas; (ii) take action on urgent global agendas using the power of social entrepreneurship, and (iii) share insights from the sector so that social entrepreneurs can flourish and lead the way in shaping an inclusive, just and sustainable world.
The Alliance works closely together with member organizations Echoing Green and GHR Foundation, as well as the Centre for the New Economy and Society on the roll out of its 2022 roadmap (soon to be announced).
2. WHO warns of rising COVID-19 cases in the Middle East
Middle Eastern countries have seen a rise in coronavirus infections in the last six weeks because of low vaccination rates, officials at the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office said on Wednesday.
Reported COVID-19 cases rose to a daily average of 110,000 in the past six weeks, while average daily deaths rose to 345 in the last three weeks, WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said on Wednesday.
More than 35% of the region’s population is fully vaccinated. But one quarter of the countries have not yet reached 10% vaccination coverage, said Rana Hajjeh, director of programme management.
3. Global total confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 400 million
Global total confirmed COVID-19 cases have passed 400 million. The Omicron variant, which is dominating the surge around the world, accounts for almost all new cases reported daily. While cases have begun to level off in many countries, more than 2 million cases are still being reported on average each day, according to a Reuters analysis.
It took over a month for COVID-19 cases to reach 400 million from 300 million, compared to five months for the cases to reach 300 million from 200 million, according to a Reuters tally.
The top five countries reporting the most cases on a seven-day average – United States, France, Germany, Russia, and Brazil – currently account for roughly 37% of all new cases reported worldwide.