• 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: EU 'will have to live with virus'; Brazil passes 250,000 confirmed deaths; South Korea begins vaccination programme.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 113 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.5 million.

Japan will end a state of emergency in all but Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures at the end of this month – a week earlier than scheduled.

South Korea has begun the rollout of its vaccine programme, with shots to be given in around 200 nursing homes.

China's GDP could grow 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from COVID-19, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said.

India's economy likely returned to growth in the last quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The recovery is expected to gather pace as consumer demand and investments move beyond the effects of the pandemic.

Mexico posted an annual current account surplus for the first time in at least a decade last year, as imports declined more sharply than exports during the pandemic.

Just over 2% of Spaniards offered a COVID-19 vaccine have rejected it – including people who avoided it for medical reasons – the country's Health Ministry said yesterday.

The White House has said it is not planning to require people to take COVID-19 tests before domestic airline flights.

COVID-19

How is the World Economic Forum helping to identify new technologies to fight COVID-19?

As part of work identifying promising technology use cases to combat COVID, The Boston Consulting Group recently used contextual AI to analyze more than 150 million English language media articles from 30 countries published between December 2019 to May 2020.

The result is a compendium of hundreds of technology use cases. It more than triples the number of solutions, providing better visibility into the diverse uses of technology for the COVID-19 response.

To see a full list of 200+ exciting technology use cases during COVID – please follow this link.

2. Brazil passes 250,000 confirmed deaths

Brazil has passed 250,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

It has the second highest death toll from the pandemic after the United States and has recorded more than 10 million confirmed cases – behind only the United States and India.

The country's vaccination programme has administered over 7.5 million shots so far, reports Reuters.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths in selected countries
How confirmed deaths compare.
Image: Our World in Data

3. EU 'will have to live with virus'

European Union leaders met yesterday to discuss how to fight new variants, step up inoculations and save the continent's tourism industry from another ruinous summer.

In a video conference, they agreed to keep 'tight restrictions' on public life and free movement. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both stressed that the virus is here to stay.

“We have to prepare for a situation where we have to continuously vaccinate for a longer period of time, maybe over years, due to new coronavirus variants, akin to the situation we know from the flu,” said Merkel.

The EU "will have to live with this virus", Macron said.

Leaders also agreed to work on vaccine certificates, which southern countries hope will unlock tourism this summer. Some countries, including France and Belgium, are concerned that easing travel for those who have been vaccinated would discriminate against those that haven't.