• This daily 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 stories: Global cases pass 40 million; tough new restrictions across Europe; Europe should learn lessons from Asia, says WHO.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 40.3 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at over 1.11 million.

Oil prices have slipped for a fourth straight day on concerns about the impact of rising COVID-19 cases on demand. Global stocks also fell yesterday, amid fears for the economy as cases in Europe continue to rise.

A judge in the US state of Wisconsin has reimposed COVID-19 restrictions. The order limits the size of indoor public gatherings. It comes as new coronavirus cases across the US rose by 13% last week, to more than 393,000.

Mexico City's mayor has warned that tighter restrictions could be imposed on the city, as more people are admitted to hospital with the virus.

Rapid tests are set to be introduced at London's Heathrow Airport, according to the Times. They'll initially be available for passengers travelling to Hong Kong and Italy.

Total confirmed cases in Canada have passed 200,000, with concerns about rising infections in recent weeks.

Argentina has also passed a milestone. The country now has more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.

coronavirus COVID-19 confirmed global cases as of October 19
Confirmed global cases have passed 40 million.
Image: Our World in Data

2. New restrictions announced across Europe

Countries across Europe have announced new restrictions. In Belgium, bars and restaurants will be closed for four weeks, the majority of employees should work from home and a night-time curfew will begin from Monday.

The country's Prime Minister says the situation is worse than during the first wave.

“The situation is serious. It is worse than on March 18 when the lockdown was decided,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told Belgian television RTL-Info.

In Wales, a "fire-break" lockdown has been announced. From Friday, everyone apart from essential workers must stay at home.

All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourist businesses will close, as will places of worship.

“It will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need,” Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told reporters. “Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home.”

Ireland has also announced tough new restrictions, with the country moved to the highest level of restrictions from midnight on Wednesday, for an initial six weeks.

Non-essential retail will be shut, restaurants and pubs will be limited to a take-away service, and people have been told not to travel more than 5 km from their homes.

“The evidence of a potentially grave situation arising in the weeks ahead is now too strong,” said Prime Minister Micheál Martin.

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 82 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum and supported by GHR Foundation and Porticus. Its mission: Join hands in support of social entrepreneurs everywhere as vital first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green, inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlines 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and corporations. These corporations are called on to stand with social entrepreneurs within their supply chains and the broader ecosystem, fulfil their agreements and extend their support to build a more inclusive & resilient economy and to:

  • Honour existing relationships by standing by existing supplier commitments and extending credit lines to social entrepreneur suppliers/partners
  • Forge new partnerships by using a mix of different types of financial and non-financial support to both social entrepreneurs and their constituents
  • Facilitate capital connections so that social entrepreneurs can re-emerge and rebuild after the pandemic
  • Invest in capacity building through individual or multi-company pro-bono/low-bono programmes
  • Deepen and widen corporate’s footprint by committing to sustainable sourcing practices and by building local “shock resilient” ecosystems

For more information see the full action agenda here.

3. Europe and North America should learn from Asia

Europe and North America should follow the example of Asian countries, according to Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme.

They should persevere with measures to tackle the spread, as well as contact tracing and quarantining, he told a media briefing.

Countries like China, Japan, Australia and South Korea have reduced the spread of detected cases by isolating patients and their contacts. This has led to people having "higher levels of trust" in their governments.

“In other words, they ran through the finish line and beyond and they kept running, because they knew the race wasn’t over, that finish line was false. Too many countries have put an imaginary finishing line and when they cross this may have decelerated some of their activities,” Ryan said.

“The countries in Asia, south Asia, the Western Pacific that have been successful to my mind have really continued to follow-through on those key activities,” he added.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, also urged countries to persevere. “I know there’s fatigue but the virus has shown that when we let our guard down, it can surge back at breakneck speed and threaten hospitals and health systems,” he said.