• 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: More than 25 million Brits have received first vaccine dose; France sees biggest one-day jump in cases since November; New Zealand close to allowing Australians to visit without quarantining.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 121.2 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.68 million. More than 390.3 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

New COVID-19 cases in India have risen by the most in three months, with two-thirds of new cases seen in the state of Maharashtra.

Confirmed cases in Ukraine have exceeded 1.5 million, with nearly 30,000 deaths also recorded, since the pandemic began.

A state of emergency in the Tokyo area will expire on Sunday as planned, after the step was approved by the Japanese government's COVID-19 advisory panel.

New Zealand is close to allowing Australians to visit without quarantining on arrival, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told local radio.

A study published in the Lancet has found that most people who have had COVID-19 are protected from getting it again for at least 6 months - although older people are more vulnerable to reinfection than younger people.

Uganda has launched a rapid COVID-19 antibody test. Developers hope the point-of-care test can be used across sub-Saharan Africa, where laboratory infrastructure is limited.

Israel is set to bail out its airlines in a $210 million COVID-19 aid plan.

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, has said that if vaccine supplies in the bloc don't improve, it will "reflect whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate".

2. More than 25 million Brits have received first vaccine dose

Britain said yesterday that more than 25 million people have received a first COVID-19 vaccination, 100 days after the first shot was administered.

“This latest milestone is an incredible achievement - representing 25 million reasons to be confident for the future as we cautiously reopen society,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people in selected countries.
The UK's rollout has been one of the world's fastest.
Image: Our World in Data

It means almost half the adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Concerns about supplies will probably slow the pace, though. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the National Health Service that there would be a “significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers” from the week commencing March 29.

Manufacturers predict this will continue for four weeks due to cuts in national inbound vaccines supply, Hancock said.

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. France sees biggest one-day jump in cases since November

France saw the biggest one-day jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday since its second lockdown in November.

The health ministry reported 38,501 new infections, pushing the total during the pandemic to 4.15 million.

It followed an announcement earlier on Wednesday that tougher restrictions will be imposed in some regions from the weekend - including the capital Paris. Details are set to be announced today.

“We will take pragmatic and regionalised decisions,” President Emmanuel Macron told health workers during a hospital visit on Wednesday.