• 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: Leaders of 23 countries back pandemic treaty idea; President Biden urges states to pause reopenings as CDC warns of 'impending doom'; Johnson & Johnson agrees vaccine supply deal with the African Union.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 127.6 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.79 million. More than 552 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has announced tighter restrictions against COVID-19. A full weekend lockdown will be in place during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan and restaurants would only serve food for delivery and take-out, he said.

Vienna plans to extend an Easter coronavirus lockdown by five days until the following Sunday, Austria's health minister said yesterday.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines reduced risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots, according to data from a real-world US study released on Monday.

Spain's COVID-19 infections rose to 149 cases per 100,000 yesterday, up from 138 cases on Friday, according to Health Ministry data. The rate is measured over the preceding 14 days.

The Philippines passed 10,000 new daily cases for the first time yesterday and put its capital region back under one of its toughest levels of lockdown.

Johnson & Johnson will supply the African Union with up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine beginning in the third quarter, the drugmaker said on Monday.

Ethiopia is set to receive 300,000 doses of Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine.

A state-backed fund in Japan has announced its first investment into companies suffering from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. President Biden urges states to pause reopenings as CDC warns of 'impending doom'

US President Joe Biden has urged states to pause reopening efforts amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Biden said 90% of US adults would be eligible for a vaccine by 19 April, but his administration warned that cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all rising.

“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” Biden said. “We still are in a war with this deadly virus. And we’re bolstering our defenses, but this war’s far from won.”

Asked if states should pause re-opening efforts, Biden said “yes.”

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in selected countries
The US has more confirmed cases than any other country.
Image: Our World in Data

Dr Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urged public officials and others to spread the word about the seriousness of the situation.

“I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky told a briefing with reporters. “Right now I’m scared.”

3. Leaders of 23 countries back pandemic treaty idea

The leaders of 23 countries and the World Health Organization have backed an idea to create an international treaty to help the world deal with future health emergencies.

The main goal of such a treaty would be to strengthen the world’s resilience to future pandemics through better alert systems, data sharing, research and the production and distribution of vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and personal protective equipment, the leaders said in a joint opinion article in major newspapers.

The treaty has the backing of the leaders of Fiji, Portugal, Romania, Britain, Rwanda, Kenya, France, Germany, Greece, Korea, Chile, Costa Rica, Albania, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Norway, Serbia, Indonesia, Ukraine and the WHO.

“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone,” the leaders wrote in the article.