• 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: Ghana begins vaccinations with COVAX-delivered shots; US to have enough vaccines for every adult by May; European Commission considers emergency approvals for vaccines.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 114.7 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.54 million.

The European Union plans to increase COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021.

Australia's economy expanded at a much faster rate than expected in the final quarter of last year.

It comes as Australia seeks the support of its armed forces in its COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Turkey has reopened schools and restaurants as the government announced steps to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Portugal had its fewest COVID-19 patients in hospital in four months yesterday, data showed. But, Prime Minister Antonio Costa urged people to continue to comply with restrictions.

The European Commission said yesterday that it was considering emergency approvals for COVID-19 vaccines, as a faster alternative to more rigorous conditional marketing authorizations that have been used so far.

The US state of Michigan has announced a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, allowing larger gatherings and easing limits on capacity for restaurants and other businesses.

Cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people in selected countries
Vaccine rollouts continue around the world.
Image: Our World in Data

2. Ghana begins vaccinations with COVAX shots

Ghana launched its COVID-19 vaccination programme yesterday with doses from the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.

“I feel so good about taking the vaccine. It will protect me from contracting the virus from patients,” said Bernice Anaglatey, 42, who works in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Accra’s Ridge Hospital as she queued for her shot.

The country is aiming to vaccinate 20 million people, or more than two-thirds of its population, by the end of the year.

It comes as COVAX delivers further vaccine doses across Africa. On Tuesday, it delivered 3.92 million doses to Nigeria, 1.7 million doses to Democratic Republic of Congo, 624,000 to Angola and 36,000 to Gambia. Senegal expects 324,000 doses from the scheme to arrive on Wednesday.

3. US to have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every US adult by May: Biden

The United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May, President Joe Biden said yesterday. The news came as Merck & Co agreed to help produce Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine.

President Biden also called on US states to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for teachers, to ensure children return to schools quickly and safely.

But, the President also urged Americans to remain vigilant in wearing masks and observing social distancing. "This fight is far from over," he said in a televised address.

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.