• 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: New global weekly cases record; US reaches 200 million vaccination doses; Syria receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 143.86 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.05 million. More than 928.68 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Globally, new cases of coronavirus have hit a weekly record, according to data published yesterday by the World Health Organization. Last week, there were 5.24 million new cases, 200,000 more than the previous record reported the week ending 4 January.

India has recorded the world's biggest single-day rise in cases, recording 314,835 infections on Thursday.

Iraq has passed 1 million coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, it had its highest single-day record, with 8,696 new cases, according to the daily health ministry report.

The US State Department has added at least 116 countries this week to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list, Reuters reports. The UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others are now on the list, which cites a “very high level of COVID-19”.

It has also hit its target of 200 million vaccination doses within 100 days, President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday.

COVID-19 cases reported weekly by WHO region, and global deaths, as of April 18.
Globally, COVID-19 cases have reached a record high.
Image: WHO

2. COVAX: Syria receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines

Syria has received 256,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the first COVAX delivery of vaccines to reach the war-torn country.

The AstraZeneca vaccines will be given to frontline health workers across the country, according to the World Health Organization, UNICEF and GAVI, the vaccine alliance.

“The delivery is a ray of light for the people of Syria. It will help health workers to continue delivering life-saving services in an already exhausted health system as a result of the decade-long war," a statement on the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean website said.

health and healthcare, COVID

How has the Forum navigated the global response to COVID-19?

One year on: we look back at how the Forum’s networks have navigated the global response to COVID-19.

Using a multistakeholder approach, the Forum and its partners through its COVID Action Platform have provided countless solutions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, protecting lives and livelihoods.

Throughout 2020, along with launching its COVID Action Platform, the Forum and its Partners launched more than 40 initiatives in response to the pandemic.

The work continues. As one example, the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs is supporting 90,000 social entrepreneurs, with an impact on 1.4 billion people, working to serve the needs of excluded, marginalized and vulnerable groups in more than 190 countries.

Read more about the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, our support of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemics Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), and the COVAX initiative and innovative approaches to solve the pandemic, like our Common Trust Network – aiming to help roll out a “digital passport” in our Impact Story.

“The COVID-19 vaccines were delivered today through two shipments: 203,000 doses arrived in Damascus while another 53,800 doses were delivered to the northwest, an area that continues to witness armed conflict and people’s displacement. More deliveries are planned for Syria in the coming weeks and months."

Syria has recorded 51,580 cases of COVID-19, but the actual number is likely to be much higher due to limited or unavailable testing supplies, they said.

Since 3 March, the COVAX facility has delivered more than 5 million doses across 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.