• 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 unveils $1.9 trillion stimulus package; Chinese cities wary of New Year travel; UK study suggests five months of immunity.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 93.1 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.99 million.

The Brazilian state of Amazonas is running out of oxygen, its government warned yesterday.

Tourism officials in the Caribbean are working to increase COVID-19 testing capacity, after the United States became the latest country to require nearly all arriving passengers to present a negative test.

Germany has logged a record daily number of deaths from the pandemic, with Chancellor Angela Merkel telling top officials she wants 'very fast action' to counter the spread of COVID-19 mutations.

France has increased border restrictions, with non-EU arrivals required to show a negative test and self-isolate for 10 days from Monday, and lengthened an existing night-time curfew by two hours.

Microsoft, health insurer Cigna Corp and the Mayo Clinic are part of a coalition pushing for digital records for people who have had the COVID-19 vaccine.

A UK study suggests people who've had COVID-19 are likely to have immunity to it for at least five months. But, there is evidence those with antibodies are still able to carry and spread the virus, according to the study of British healthcare workers.

The International Monetary Fund has urged countries to continue strong fiscal and monetary efforts to support their economies, given ongoing uncertainty.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases globally
Cases continue to rise globally.
Image: Our World in Data

2. President-elect Biden unveils stimulus package

President-elect Joe Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package yesterday.

The package includes $415 billion to boost the response to the virus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, around $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

“A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”

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. Chinese cities wary of New Year travel

Local governments and factories in China are offering incentives for workers not to travel home during the Lunar New Year holiday next month.

Concerns about industrial production and the spread of coronavirus have prompted provinces to issue notices encouraging workers to stay where they are. Incentives being offered include extra pay, prizes, entertainment, free banquets and staggered holiday arrangements, reports Reuters.

China's state planner said it expects 'markedly lower' holiday travel than normal. For example, southern Jiangxi province expects travel to be around 60% of 2019.