• 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: President-elect Biden's economic plan; Second year of the pandemic 'could even be tougher'; Restrictions extended and introduced across Europe.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 92.3 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.97 million.

Cuba has registered record new daily COVID-19 infections for the last six days, with 550 recorded yesterday. The government has responded by tightening restrictions, including closing more schools and shutting down public transport.

Portugal has announced a new lockdown, similar to one imposed last March and April - but schools will remain open.

A recovery in companies' earnings expected in the first half of this year is being pushed back as restrictions in several countries hit recovery hopes, investment banks have said.

Global consumption patterns will also remain suppressed in the first half of this year, the chief executive of Unilever told Reuters.

Denmark has extended a lockdown for at least a further three weeks to limit the spread of COVID-19 - in particular a more transmissible variant.

World Bank President David Malpass has called on the private sector to help countries deal with the economic and health crises caused by the pandemic by backing a push for debt reduction.

A clinic in Prague, Czech Republic, has launched a mobile team to give COVID-19 vaccine shots in senior and social care homes.

2. President-elect Biden's economic plan to focus on COVID recovery

President-elect Joe Biden is set to press Congress today to deliver immediate pandemic 'rescue' efforts, before turning to broader 'recovery' measures - like healthcare and infrastructure - his administration's top economic advisor said yesterday.

Brian Deese, who will head the National Economic Council in the new Democratic administration, said Biden will lay out a two-track economic plan.

The first, a 'rescue bucket', will include payments to help Americans weather the pandemic-induced downturn, and the second will be a longer-term recovery plan.

“What you are going to hear from the president-elect is a robust effort to get at that issue of ... relief and at the same time signal the need to begin working on those investments in the recovery,” said Deese.

coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications - a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

The report reveals that the economic impact of COVID-19 is dominating companies’ risks perceptions.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

3. Second year of the pandemic 'could even be tougher'

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic could be even tougher, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Mike Ryan, said yesterday.

“We are going into a second year of this, it could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing," he said during an event on social media.

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

The organization said five million new cases were reported globally last week.

“Certainly in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America we have seen that sort of perfect storm of the season - coldness, people going inside, increased social mixing and a combination of factors that have driven increased transmission in many, many countries,” Ryan said.