• 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: French PM Macron tests positive; EU states to start COVID-19 vaccinations from 27 December; Moderna vaccine set for US approval.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 75 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.66 million.

Two-thirds of England will be under the country's toughest 'Tier 3' COVID-19 measures from Saturday to tackle a rising number of infections.

Northern Ireland to set to enter six-week COVID-19 lockdown on December 26 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases.

A new study from Singapore has shown that pregnant women don't get sicker than the wider population. It also found that babies born to infected mothers have antibodies against the virus.

A second wave of infections is hitting West and Central Africa with experts are warning it could be worse than the first, as cooler weather descends on the region.

Johnson & Johnson has enrolled 45,000 people into the first late-stage trial of its COVID-19 single-dose vaccine candidate. J&J plans to submit an emergency use authorization application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February if the data from the study is safe and effective.

South Korea has reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases, its second-highest ever daily tally.

Early data from the Phase I and II trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine found it provoked a good immune response when a two full-dose regime is used.

The United States Food and Drug Administration is set to grant emergency approval to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people
Cases continue to rise in many countries.
Image: Our World in Data

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

2. French President, Emmanuel Macron, tests positive for COVID-19

French President, Emmanuel Macron, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and has gone into quarantine.

He joins a list of world leaders who've contracted the virus, which includes UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Macron will cancel all upcoming trips, and the news has prompted track-and-trace efforts after recent meetings with leaders from across the EU.

3. EU states to start COVID-19 vaccinations

European Union states will start vaccinations against COVID-19 from 27 December, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed. The bloc is home to some 450 million people.

EU member states have been waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The EMA is expected to make an announcement on 21 December.

The EMA has also said it was speeding up efforts to approve the Moderna vaccine. It will bring forward a review to 6 January from 12 January.