• 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: Germany extends and toughens lockdown; BBC planning mass education programming; new restrictions in Hebei, China.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 86.4 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.86 million.

Indonesia is set to impose increased COVID-19 restrictions in parts of the islands of Java and Bali. The measures include changes to opening hours for malls and limiting capacity at restaurants and places of worship.

South Korea is planning to roll out mass testing for 52 prisons in the country, after a large COVID-19 outbreak. The country is also considering extending flight suspensions from the UK.

Chinese authorities have imposed travel restrictions and banned gatherings in the capital city of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, in an effort to prevent another coronavirus wave.

Australia is planning to bring forward the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines by two weeks to early March. The government wants to complete the inoculation programme for its 25 million citizens by the end of 2021.

Health officials in Los Angeles have told first responders to stop bringing adult patients who cannot be resuscitated to hospitals, with concerns about a lack of beds and staff.

The number of Spaniards registered unemployed has reached nearly 4 million – a more than four-year high.

Israel is set to tighten an ongoing national lockdown, in an effort to halt a rise in new COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19

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2. Germany extends and toughens lockdown

Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced an extension of Germany's nationwide lockdown until the end of January. Rules will also be toughened in the hardest-hit areas.

“We need to reduce contacts further because we have seen that we have not been able to lower the incidence (of coronavirus) in the last (few) weeks as far as we would have wished for,” Merkel told journalists after a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany
Cases have continued to rise in Germany.
Image: Our World in Data

For the first time, the rules will restrict non-essential travel. Movement is limited to a 15km radius in towns and cities where the number of new COVID-19 cases is above 200 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period.

Limits have also been placed on gatherings, with just one member of a household allowed to meet just one other person.

3. BBC rolls out mass education programming

The BBC has announced the largest education offer in its history, after school closures in England were announced as part of new lockdown measures.

The corporation's children's brand – CBBC – will offer a three-hour block of content aimed at primary school pupils, while the BBC Two TV channel will focus on secondary school students.

“Education is absolutely vital,” said BBC Director General Tim Davie. “The BBC is here to play its part and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this to audiences so swiftly.”

Mobile network and broadband operators are also removing data caps, to help disadvantaged students access online materials.