• 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: New lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand; WHO calls for vaccine supply and distribution to be accelerated; vaccination programmes continue around the world.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 114 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.53 million.

The Philippines has begun its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with health workers the first to receive jabs.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received the first dose of the COVAXIN COVID-19 vaccine.

The UK is set to announce a further £1.65 billion ($2.3 billion) for its COVID-19 vaccination push as part of Wednesday's annual budget statement.

It comes as up to six cases of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in the Brazilian city of Manaus have been detected in Britain for the first time.

Slovakia is set to tighten restrictions from Wednesday, including new limits on people's movement.

France and Germany have agreed that people crossing the border between the French region of Moselle and Germany will have to have proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test in the previous 48 hours.

The US Business Roundtable has launched a 'Move the Needle' campaign to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and encourage the continued use of public health measures.

Norway's capital Oslo is set to tighten restrictions to tackle a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections linked to a more contagious variant.

Thailand has begun its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with Cabinet Ministers, health officials and medical professionals among the first to receive a shot.

Australia has received 300,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, doubling the total number of vaccines shipped to date.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Cases are falling in many countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. New lockdown in Auckland

A new seven-day lockdown was introduced in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday. It follows a similar move in mid-February and was prompted by a person who had been infectious for a week but not in isolation.

“It is more than likely there will be additional cases in the community,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a televised news conference. The Level 3 restrictions means people can only leave home for essential shopping and work, with public venues shut.

Restrictions in the rest of the country have been raised to Level 2, setting limits on public gatherings.

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.

3. We need to accelerate the supply and distribution of vaccines: WHO

The World Health Organization has called on countries to stop approaching manufacturers who are producing vaccines that COVAX - the vaccine sharing facility - is reliant on.

"These actions undermine COVAX and deprive health workers and vulnerable people around the world of life-saving vaccines," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

He said the progress that has been made is fragile and we need to 'accelerate the supply and distribution of vaccines'.

"Now is the time to use every tool to scale up production, including licensing and technology transfer, and where necessary, intellectual property waivers," he added. "If not now, then when?"