• 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: Eurozone economy contracts less than expected in Q4; Russia's Sputnik V vaccine 92% effective; 2 million Australians enter lockdown.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 103.8 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.25 million.

Japan's services sector shrank at the fastest pace in five months in January. It was hit by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and a state of emergency in parts of the country.

The Eurozone economy contracted less than expected in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to initial EU estimates. But it's heading for another, probably steeper, decline in the first quarter of this year.

Germany will have vaccinated 10 million people by the end of March, Chancellor Angela Merkel told ARD television yesterday.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that most lockdown measures – many of which have been in place since October – will remain in place for weeks yet.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised millions for Britain's National Health Service by walking laps of his garden, has died aged 100 with COVID-19.

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. Russia's Sputnik V vaccine 92% effective

Scientists have given Russia's Sputnik V vaccine the green light. It's almost 92% effective in fighting COVID-19, according to peer-reviewed late-stage trial results published in The Lancet.

Russia approved the vaccine in August, before the large-scale trial had begun.

“The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency,” said Ian Jones, professor at the University of Reading, and Polly Roy, professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated,” the scientists, who were not involved in the study, said in a comment shared by The Lancet. “Another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.”

2. Two million Australians enter lockdown

A five-day lockdown is in progress in Perth, capital of Western Australia, after the discovery of one case in the community.

Authorities ordered a full lockdown after a security guard at a hotel used to quarantine people returning from overseas was found to have to contracted the virus. Authorities also moved to test and isolate close contacts of the guard.

“In total 13 close contacts have now tested negative and of those 11 high-risk contacts have been moved into hotel quarantine as an extra precaution,” Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan told reporters in Perth.

Australia has limited cases to less than 29,000 and deaths to less than 1,000 through measures like this and strict border controls.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia
Australia has kept total case numbers relatively low.
Image: Our World in Data