Health and Healthcare Systems

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 11 March

Herb Pasternak wears a mask while dining outdoors as the state of Texas lifts its mask mandate and allows businesses to reopen at full capacity during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Houston, Texas, U.S., March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2I8M9JS9UO

Restrictions around masks have been lifted in Texas, USA. Image: REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

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  • 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: US $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill wins approval; Greening the COVID-19 recovery; More funding needed for COVAX vaccine rollout.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 118 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.61 million. More than 319.5 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

South Korea has extended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 65 and over.

Hundreds of climbers are set to return to Mount Everest under strict conditions, a year after the world's tallest mountain closed due to the pandemic.

The Australian government has announced a AUS$1.2 billion ($928 million) support package for the tourism industry, aimed at boosting local travel.

Switzerland expects to receive 1 million vaccine doses from Moderna and Pfizer this month.

The Pan American Health Organization has warned that while new COVID-19 cases continue to decline in North America, infections are rising in Latin America - particularly in Brazil.

France reported 30,303 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday - the first time the figure has risen above 30,000 in two weeks.

The head of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, has called for an additional $1 billion in funding to support the COVAX vaccine rollout.

Cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people in selected countries
The vaccine rollout is accelerating in many countries - but more funding is needed, say UNICEF. Image: Our World in Data

2. US COVID rescue package bill wins final approval in House

The US House of Representatives gave final approval yesterday to President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The measure provides $400 billion for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an expansion of the child tax credit and increased funding for vaccine distribution.

“Help is here,” Biden wrote in a tweet after the vote. He is expected to sign the bill on Friday.


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3. COVID-19 recovery spending needs to be greener, says UN

The majority of large economies' planned COVID-19 recovery spending is not green, according to a report co-authored by the United Nations.

Of the $1.9 trillion that the world’s 50 biggest economies announced in COVID-19 recovery spending by the end of 2020, only 18% - or $341 billion - can be considered green, according to the report by the University of Oxford and the UN Environment Programme.

The authors pointed to a "growing body of evidence" that green fiscal spending can deliver stronger returns than traditional alternatives.

The report also called on high-income countries to use recovery money to support poorer nations and marginalized communities.

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