- This daily news roundup brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, along with tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Best Stories: New COVID-19 variant emerges in South Africa; Europe tackles surge in COVID-19 cases; UK data shows COVID-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the world
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 260 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now exceeded 5.18 million. More than 7.81 billion doses of vaccination have been administered worldwide, according to Our World in Data.
Eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots has been expanded in the United States, with millions of Americans receiving their third dose last week.
The Czech Republic reported 27,717 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday – the highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.
Pfizer and MSD – known as Merck & Co in North America – have agreed to license Vietnamese companies to produce COVID-19 treatment pills, the Vietnamese government said.
Three locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the city of Shanghai have prompted authorities to limit tourist activities, while the city of Xuzhou has suspended some public transport after a confirmed asymptomatic case.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is safe for pregnant women and is not associated with higher complication rates, data released by the British Health Safety Agency showed on Thursday.
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 world leaders, organized by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: to join hands to support social entrepreneurs around the world as essential first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green and inclusive economic reality.
Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda presents 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations and businesses. In January 2021, its members launched its 2021 roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 work areas. Including business access and policy change in support of a social economy.
For more information, see the Alliance’s website or its “Impact Story” here.
2. New variant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa
South African scientists have detected a new variant of COVID-19 and are working to understand its possible implications, they said yesterday.
The variant – called B.1.1.529 – has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are of concern because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists told reporters. at a press conference.
South Africa today called for an urgent meeting of a World Health Organization virus evolution working group to discuss the new variant.
Other countries including India, Australia, Japan and the UK have expressed concern, with some preparing to impose travel restrictions from South Africa and some neighboring countries.
“This is the most important variant that we have encountered to date and urgent research is underway to learn more about its transmissibility, severity and susceptibility to the vaccine,” said the chief executive of the UK agency. health security officer, Jenny Harries.
3. European countries tackle surge in COVID-19 cases
Countries in Europe have expanded their COVID-19 vaccine booster programs, introduced plans to immunize young children and increased restrictions in response to increasing COVID-19 cases.
Slovakia entered a two-week lockdown, the Czech Republic declared a 30-day state of emergency, which includes the early closure of bars and clubs and the ban on Christmas markets, while Germany has crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths. Germany also reported a record number of daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday – 75,961.
In France Authorities have said COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be available to anyone over the age of 18, while the Netherlands plans new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Portugal also announced that it would reimpose restrictions.
The European UnionThe medical regulatory body has approved the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 5 to 11. The European Commission has also proposed that residents need reminders if they want to travel to other countries in the bloc without testing or quarantines next summer.
He also offered to accept all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization for travel vaccines. The move would allow non-essential travel to the EU from outside the bloc for people vaccinated with vaccines made in China or India.
Meanwhile, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimate that 470,000 lives have been saved among people aged 60 and over since the start of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination in 33 countries across the WHO European Region.