• 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: WHO warning on malaria; New York schools to reopen; Indonesia reports record daily rise in cases.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 62.7 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.45 million.

Germans must do more to reduce their contacts to help slow the spread of the disease, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk.

Doctors in Singapore are studying the impact of COVID-19 on unborn babies. An infant delivered by an infected mother earlier this month had antibodies against the virus but did not carry the disease.

Factory activity in China expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November. Growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, as the economy's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continued.

Turkey's COVID-19 death toll hit a record high for a seventh straight day yesterday, with 185 deaths reported.

Restaurants and non-essential shops will reopen on Thursday in the Czech Republic. Customers will be limited to allow for social distancing.

Indonesia has reported a record daily rise in COVID-19 infections, with 6,267 cases reported yesterday.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia
Indonesia has reported more than 500,000 cases overall.
Image: Our World in Data

South Korea has announced new restrictions as coronavirus infections spread at their fastest rate in nearly 9 months. Year-end parties are banned, as are some music lessons. Public saunas and some cafes have also been told to close.

A local association in Naples is offering residents the opportunity to take a rapid test for COVID-19, while paying for another test for an anonymous fellow citizen. It mimics a tradition where residents pay for two coffees, so someone in need can enjoy theirs for free.

2. WHO warning on malaria

Malaria deaths will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization has warned.

More than 409,000 people globally were killed by malaria last year - the majority babies in the poorest parts of Africa. That figure is set to rise as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease.

Africa continues to carry the highest burden of malaria globally.
Cases and deaths are highest in Africa.
Image: WHO

“Our estimates are that depending on the level of service disruption (due to COVID-19) ... there could be an excess of malaria deaths of somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, most of them in young children,” said Pedro Alsonso, director of the WHO’s malaria programme.

“It’s very likely that excess malaria mortality is larger than the direct COVID mortality.”

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum. 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. In January of 2021, its members launched its 2021 Roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 areas of work. Including corporate access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information see the Alliance website or its “impact story” here.

3. New York public schools to reopen

New York's public schools will begin to reopen for in-person learning next week. The reopening will start with elementary schools for students whose parents agree to a weekly testing regimen for COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday.

New York has the United States' largest school system, but schools were closed less than two weeks ago after the citywide rate of positive tests exceeded 3% - a benchmark agreed between the mayor and the teachers' union.

“It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,” de Blasio told reporters, saying the 3% benchmark was being scrapped and pointing to research that shows young children appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19.

The city's rolling seven-day average of positive tests stood at 3.9% yesterday.