• 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: The impact of school closures on long-term US economic growth; Mexico confirmed cases cross 2 million; snap lockdowns ended in New Zealand and Australia.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 109.5 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.41 million.

Japan has begun its vaccination programme, with the first hospital workers in Tokyo getting the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

New Zealand is set to lift the snap lockdown imposed on Auckland over the weekend from midnight tonight local time. Heightened restrictions across the rest of the country will also be eased.

A similar snap lockdown in the Australian state of Victoria will also be lifted tonight, after no new cases were reported in a cluster linked to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun has warned against loosening enforcement of social distancing rules after new COVID-19 cases hit their highest level in nearly 40 days.

France's rolling seven-day average COVID-19 death toll has fallen below 400 for the first time since late January.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mexico have passed 2 million, while deaths have passed 175,000. Authorities say the real number of cases is likely much higher, though.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mexico
New daily cases have fluctuated in Mexico
Image: Our World in Data

The United Kingdom could give two doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all adult by August or September, the interim head of its vaccine taskforce told Sky News yesterday.

In a televised townhall event, US President Joe Biden has said he expects all Americans will be offered a vaccine by July.

2. Spain hoping vaccine passports can boost summer tourism

Spain hopes vaccination passports, coupled with pre-travel testing, will see tourism rebound this summer, a tourism ministry source told Reuters.

“We support the vaccination certificate but not as the only way to recuperate mobility, rather, as one of the means within a portfolio of measures including social distancing, pre-travel tests, mask-wearing,” the source said.

Foreign tourism to Spain - normally one of the world's most visited countries - fell 80% last year to 19 million visitors, a level not seen since 1969.

The industry's contribution to GDP also to between 4-5%, down from a 12% share in 2019, according to estimates from Funcas think-tank analyst Maria Jesus Fernandez.

3. US school closures could hit economic growth

School closures in the United States as a result of the pandemic could stunt US economic growth the over the long term, according to a paper published by the San Francisco Reserve bank.

It's feared closures will reduce numbers of college-educated workers and increase high-school dropouts. With college-educated workers far out-earning those without, the projected decline in attainment could trim US annual output by an average of a quarter of a percentage point over the next 70 years, the paper found.

The hit to GDP would peak in 2045, at just shy of $150 billion that year.

“Disruptions to children’s learning today can have a persistent and large impact on the production capacity of the economy and harm future growth,” wrote economists John Fernald, Huiyu Li, and Micthell Ochse. “The long-run effects of learning disruptions on the economy will depend crucially on how fast the economy recovers, which will impact how much lost education during the pandemic can be remediated.”

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.