- 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: No masks for fully vaccinated Americans in most places; Confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 24 million in India; Japan declares state of emergency in three additional prefectures.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 161.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.3 million. More than 1.37 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in England has prevented nearly 12,000 deaths and more than 30,000 hospitalizations, according to an analysis by the government agency Public Health England.
Mainland China has reported seven new COVID-19 cases - including its first local transmissions in more than three weeks, its national health authority said today.
Brazil's Fiocruz biomedical institute will pause production of the AstraZeneca vaccine on certain days next week as a result of a shortage of ingredients. New supplies are set to arrive on 22 May.
In an unexpected move, Japan is set to declare a state of emergency in three more prefectures hit hard by the pandemic, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has announced.
Singapore has tightened COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings and dining amid an increase in new locally acquired cases.
The rise in cases has put a travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong in doubt, with a Hong Kong official saying there was a "high chance" the opening date of 26 May would be postponed.
A yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study in Britain has shown that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine generates a larger antibody response in older people when a second dose is delayed to 12 weeks after the first.
The Canadian province of Ontario has extended its stay-at-home order for an extra two weeks, to 2 June.
The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response has released a report into the COVID-19 pandemic, calling February 2020 "a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic."
2. No masks for fully vaccinated Americans in most places
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that fully vaccinated people in the United States don't need to wear masks outside or inside in most places. They also won't need to physically distance in most places.
The CDC hopes the move will encourage more Americans to get a COVID-19 jab. The guidance still recommends vaccinated people wear masks on planes and trains, at airports, transit hubs and medical facilities.
"In the past couple of weeks, we have seen additional data to show these vaccines work in the real world, they stand up to the variants, and vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus," the agency said in a news release.
President Joe Biden spoke at the White House without a mask. "I think it's a great milestone, a great day," he said.
"If you're fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you've earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile," he said.
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. Confirmed cases pass 24 million in India
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 24 million in India, with 343,144 new cases recorded. 4,000 new deaths were also recorded, bringing that total to more than 260,000 since the pandemic began.
However, officials have warned that limited testing means the real figures could be significantly higher.
There are also concerns about the B.1.617 variant, as it's found in more countries around the world. It's been confirmed in eight countries in the Americas, in Britain and Singapore.
A government advisor has said that more than 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses are likely to become available in the country between August and December.