• 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: Countries send aid to India; ACT-Accelerator marks one-year anniversary; Hong Kong and Singapore set to open travel bubble.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 147.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.1 million. More than 1 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will begin on 26 May.

Thailand has suspended issuing travel documents from India. It comes as Thailand increases restrictions in an effort to slow a third wave of COVID-19.

Malaysian health authorities have said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use after the country received its first doses through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.

Israel is investigating a small number of cases of heart inflammation in recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The country's health ministry stressed it is yet to draw any conclusions, with Pfizer saying there's been no link established.

Costa Rica has registered a record number of new daily COVID-19 infections - 1,830 - with health authorities warning space at public hospitals is limited.

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. Countries send COVID-19 aid to India

Countries around the world are providing aid to India as it tackles surging COVID-19 infections amid oxygen shortages.

The United Kingdom and the European Commission are among those sending ventilators, oxygen and other medical equipment. The United States has also lifted a ban on sending raw materials abroad, to help India make more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," the BBC reports US President Joe Biden as saying.

India's neighbour Pakistan has also offered equipment and supplies.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in selected countries.
Cases have risen rapidly in India.
Image: Our World in Data

3. ACT-Accelerator marks one-year anniversary

The ACT-Accelerator has marked its first anniversary. It was launched on 24 April 2020 at an event hosted by the World Health Organization, European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One year after the launch of the ACT Accelerator, world leaders face a choice: invest in saving lives by treating the cause of the pandemic everywhere, now, or continue to spend trillions on the consequences with no end in sight,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said. “With a remaining funding gap of $19 billion for 2021 and limited supply of products, we can only end the pandemic by funding, sharing, and scaling-up access to the tools we need to fight the disease. The time to ACT is now.”

A new report, developed for the anniversary, highlights the progress the partnership has made, from diagnostics to work on the equitable distribution of vaccines through COVAX.