- 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: England's lockdown to be lifted; international community needs to 'set a new standard' in vaccine access; new daily infections hit two-month low in France.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 59.1 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.39 million.
Tighter restrictions have been introduced in South Korea's capital, Seoul. Measures include the closure of nightclubs and karaoke bars and limits on religious services, weddings and funerals.
Brent crude oil prices have hit their highest levels since March, on the back of a third promising COVID-19 vaccine.
More internal border restrictions will be lifted in Australia next week, after Queensland said it would allow visitors from New South Wales and Victoria. The South Australia-Victoria border is also set to reopen next week. A government minister has said the first vaccines could be available by March.
Canada could approve one or more COVID-19 vaccines early next year, according to Health Canada, the country's drug regulator.
New daily COVID-19 infections in France have hit a two-month low - 4,452 were reported yesterday, suggesting a second national lockdown is having an effect.
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.
2. Lockdown in England to be lifted
England's COVID-19 lockdown will be lifted next week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday.
England's regions will be allocated to one of three tiers, with measures ranging in severity.
“We will continue to bear down hard on this virus. We will use tough tiering, in some ways tougher than the pre-lockdown measures,” Johnson said during a news conference he addressed by video link from Downing Street where he is self-isolating.
He said the measures would run until the end of March, when he was hopeful vaccines and wider testing could offer a route out of lockdowns and restrictions.
3. WHO calls for fair distribution of vaccines
The urgency with which the world has developed COVID-19 vaccines needs to be matched when distributing doses, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday.
"No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these. The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development," he told a media briefing.
"Now the international community must set a new standard for access."
The world's poorest and most vulnerable must be protected and included, he added.
His comments came as the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford was shown to be 70% effective - and up to 90% in some cases.
The vaccine is cheaper and can be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures compared to Moderna and Pfizer's shots.