• 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: India reports 96,982 new COVID-19 cases; Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month; Restrictions eased in Portugal, Greece.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 131.7 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. More than 664.64 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

New Zealand will allow quarantine-free visits from Australians starting 19 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

Australia says it hasn’t received more than 3 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid export curbs by the European Union.

Japan’s real wages rose for the first time in a year in February, the government said today. The rise was largely due to prices weakening as the pandemic continues to hit the economy, reports Reuters.

Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has risen from 151.8 cases per 100,000 to 163.4 cases per 100,000, as measured over the rolling 14-day average, official data has shown.

A planned reopening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality will take place in England next week as planned, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, will close 196 entertainment venues for two weeks, following a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Greece allowed shops to reopen under controlled conditions yesterday. Customers have to make appointments and comply with a three-hour limit for shopping, while retailers cannot allow in more than one customer per 25 square metres.

Portugal has entered the second phase of an easing of its COVID-19 lockdown, with café and restaurant terraces, museums, non-food markets and fairs, small shops, middle schools and gyms allowed to open their doors from yesterday.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Cases are rising in many countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. India reports 96,982 new COVID-19 cases

India has reported 96,982 new COVID-19 infections, taking its overall tally to 12.7 million, according to data from the health ministry.

India’s caseload is the world’s third highest, behind the United States and Brazil. Today’s rise come after a record rise on Monday of 103,558 confirmed infections. With it, India became just the second country to report more than 100,000 new cases in a day.

The country’s daily infections have risen about 12-fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February.

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. Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month

From next month, Singapore will accept visitors who use a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, its aviation regulator said yesterday.

Singapore will accept the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travellers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories.

The pass was successfully tested by Singapore Airlines. More than 20 carriers are also testing the pass.

“The success of our joint efforts will make IATA’s partnership with the government of Singapore a model for others to follow,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement.