• 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: Netherlands planning new restrictions; Record daily deaths in the UK; EU leaders to meet today.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 96.8 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.07 million.

A Reuters poll of economists suggests that Australia's economy will gain momentum this year, as a result of domestic suppression of the virus and support policies.

The more contagious variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in Britain, is spreading rapidly across Portugal, its health minister has said.

A third lockdown in England currently appears to be having little impact on COVID-19 rates, researchers have warned.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have agreed to hold their spring meetings - planned for 5-11 April - online, due to continued concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada's annual inflation rate slowed to 0.7% in December, down from 1.0% in November, as a result of new COVID-19 restrictions and the declining costs of airplane tickets, clothing and footwear.

EU leaders will meet today to in an effort to address mounting challenges from the pandemic.

Blockchain

What is the World Economic Forum doing about blockchain governance in global supply chains?

The World Economic Forum has produced a toolkit on responsible deployment of blockchain in global supply chains. The first-of-its kind Blockchain Deployment Toolkit provides insights from more than 100 experts and provides key guidelines on topics such as risk, consortia formations, security and ecosystem collaboration.

The toolkit is delivered through the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), that shapes the development and deployment for new technologies and provides a space for global cooperation to create understanding and policies that accelerate these technologies’ positive impact for the individual and the society. The acceleration of the post COVID-19 economic rebound through 4IR-technologies such as blockchain is an important task for the 4IR-centre today.

The World Economic Forum launched the Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit 28 April, 2020.
The World Economic Forum launched the Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit 28 April, 2020.
Image: World Economic Forum

2. Netherlands planning new restrictions

The Dutch government is proposing the introduction of the country's first nationwide curfew since World War II and a ban on flights from South Africa and Britain.

The measures still have to be approved by parliament, and are designed to tackle new, more infectious variants of COVID-19.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands
Cases have risen rapidly in the Netherlands.
Image: Our World in Data

“This is a very tough measure, but we are at a crossroads,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a televised news conference. “The British variant doesn’t leave us with an alternative.”

The flight ban, which will also apply to all South American countries, would begin on Saturday, with the curfew also set to take effect over the weekend.

It would mean only people with pressing needs could leave their homes between 20:30 and 04:30, local time.

3. UK records record daily deaths

A record number of deaths with 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test have been recorded in the United Kingdom.

1,820 deaths were announced on Wednesday, bringing the death toll by this measure to more than 90,000. Only Mexico, India, Brazil and the United States have recorded more deaths.

The average number of daily deaths has been rising since September, with more deaths from COVID-19 now recorded during the second wave than the first.