• 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: Need to follow public health measures more than ever, say WHO; Senegal's hospitals under pressure; new restrictions in China.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 90.8 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.94 million.

Japan is set to extend a state of emergency to three western prefectures - Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo - according to reports.

New Zealand will ask international travellers from most countries to show negative COVID-19 test results before boarding flights to the country. On arrival, travellers will still be tested and complete the 14-day compulsory quarantine period.

Australia has recorded a handful of locally-acquired infections - one in Queensland and five in New South Wales.

Mexico has asked United States officials to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their land border, due to the pandemic.

Thailand has approved new measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including soft loans and a subsidy programme for utility bills.

Coronavirus-related deaths in Ukraine have passed 20,000, the health minister has said.

Authorities in China have introduced new COVID-19 restrictions in areas around Beijing. It puts a further 4.9 million residents under lockdown measures, as officials introduce strict curbs wherever new cases emerge.

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.

2. Senegal's hospitals under pressure

Senegal's healthcare systems are coming under increasing pressure as infections hit record highs, with doctors forced to only admit the most severe cases, health officials have said.

“The cases are rising faster than the number of beds, so we are experiencing a moment of tension,” said Moussa Seydi, who runs Senegal’s COVID response.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in Senegal
Cases have risen again in Senegal.
Image: Our World in Data

A state of emergency has been reimposed, which bans gatherings and enforces mask wearing. It's hoped that this will give authorities enough time to install new facilities and reopen health centres that were used during the first wave last year.

3. WHO: Need to follow public health measures more than ever

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the emergence of new variants is a reminder of the need to follow public health measures.

"The more the virus spreads, the higher the chance of new changes to the virus," he said.

He called on people to follow the public health basics 'now more than ever.'

"You might get fed up of hearing it, but the virus is not fed up with us," he added. "Limiting transmission limits the chance of dangerous new variants from developing."

The WHO's Soumya Swaminathan has stressed that "we are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021." She also called for increased adherence to public health measures.