• 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: Global confirmed death toll reaches 3 million, Australia and New Zealand open quarantine-free travel bubble and new UK trial to test COVID re-infection.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 141.43 million globally, according to John Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.02 million. More than 890.31 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Nearly 130 million people aged 18 years or more have received their first shot in the US, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Sunday. That figure makes up about 50.4% of the total adult US population, according to the CDC, marking a milestone for the country that has seen over 560,000 deaths from the pandemic.

India reported 261,500 new cases on Sunday, taking the total number of cases to nearly 14.8 million, second only to the United States, which has reported more than 31 million infections. The country's capital, New Delhi, is struggling with a lack of beds, oxygen cylinders, and drugs.

Israel ended its mandatory order to wear masks outdoors in another step towards relative normality thanks to the country’s mass vaccination against COVID-19.

Thailand reported 1,390 new coronavirus cases on Monday, slowing slightly after a run of record daily highs, amid a new wave of infections that has seen a third of the country’s cases recorded this month alone.

Hundreds of passengers from Australia began arriving in New Zealand airports on Monday after authorities reopened borders, a pandemic milestone that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in over a year.

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France edged up on Sunday, the health ministry said, amid a nationwide lockdown to try to stem a third wave of infections. Health ministry data showed that 5,893 people were in intensive care units with COVID-19, 16 more than on Saturday. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital rose by 460 to 30,789, ending a streak of five consecutive daily falls.

2. COVID-19 deaths pass 3 million worldwide

Over a year since the start of the pandemic, the number of deaths from COVID-19 has passed 3 million worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

There have been over 141 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with the US, India, and Brazil recording the most infections and over a million deaths between them.

On Friday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that "cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates." He added, "Globally the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic."

As some countries struggle to battle rising cases, the global vaccination campaign continues to grow with more than 890.31 million vaccination doses administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths
The world has passed 3 million deaths from COVID-19, over a year after the pandemic started.
Image: Our World in Data

3. New UK challenge trial studies if people can catch coronavirus again

British scientists launched a trial which will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected, reports Reuters.

In February, Britain became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead for so-called "challenge trials" in humans, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to COVID-19 to advance research into the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The study launched on Monday differs from the one announced in February as it seeks to reinfect people who have previously had COVID-19 in an effort to deepen understanding about immunity, rather than infecting people for the first time.

"The information from this work will allow us to design better vaccines and treatments, and also to understand if people are protected after having COVID, and for how long," said Helen McShane, a University of Oxford vaccinologist and chief investigator on the study.

Scientists have used human challenge trials for decades to learn more about diseases such as malaria, flu, typhoid and cholera, and to develop treatments and vaccines against them.

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.