- 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: Citywide lockdown in Delhi, India; WHO warning about mass gatherings; Greta Thunberg promotes vaccine equity.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 142.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3 million. More than 904.9 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
Delhi entered a week-long lockdown on Monday as infections and deaths in India hit new daily highs. More than 272,000 cases and 1,619 deaths were recorded on Monday, according to The New York Times. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled a planned trip to India next week, due to the worsening situation.
Hong Kong is suspending flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for two weeks from today, after the N501Y COVID-19 strain was detected for the first time.
The US has passed a vaccination milestone: all adults over the age of 16 in every state are now eligible for a shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Bhutan has given more than 60% of its people a COVID-19 vaccine shot, reports The New York Times. Some villages were reached by helicopter, and health workers hiked through ice and snow.
Greece has suspended the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid concerns over links to extremely rare blood clots. The EU is expected to rule on the safety of the vaccine today, according to the Guardian, while the US will announce its decision by Friday.
Meanwhile, Greece has lifted quarantine restrictions for arrivals from EU member states and other countries, including the US and the UK, as part of plans to revive its tourism sector.
2. WHO Chief Scientist calls for continued vigilance
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), has said the news about COVID-19 vaccines and protection against variants was overall positive, but she warned of the need to stay vigilant against the virus.
"What's really important is that almost all of these vaccines are highly protective against severe disease, which leads very often to hospitalization and unfortunately to death," she said in the new video.
"While they may not completely prevent infection, the immunity the body develops in response to vaccination is good enough to protect people from getting sick."
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But she warned that the new variants circulating are more efficient at spreading and mass gatherings have the potential to become mass spreading events.
"We understand people are tired and want to get back to normal life, but this is not the time to relax because vaccination programmes in most countries have not even begun to approach the level of herd immunity we need. People need to recognize that engaging in these activities is endangering the lives of their loved ones."
She said even after vaccination other precautions must still be taken.
3. Greta Thunberg donates $120,000 to support vaccine equity
The climate activist is making the donation through the Greta Thunberg Foundation.
She said: “The international community must do more to address the tragedy that is vaccine inequity. We have the means at our disposal to correct the great imbalance that exists around the world today in the fight against COVID-19.
"Just as with the climate crisis, we must help those who are the most vulnerable first. That is why I am supporting WHO, Gavi and all involved in the COVAX initiative, which I believe offers the best path forward to ensure true vaccine equity and a way out of the pandemic.”
On average, one in four people in high-income countries have received a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just one in more than 500 in low-income countries, according to the WHO.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I urge the global community to follow Greta’s example and do what they can, in support of COVAX, to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from this pandemic.”