• 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: US reports lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly a year; 'Scandalous inequity' perpetuating the pandemic: WHO; India reports lowest rise in new daily infections since 14 April.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 167.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.47 million. More than 1.7 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Melbourne, Australia has reintroduced some COVID-19 restrictions after a cluster of new cases. New Zealand has also paused a 'travel bubble' with Melbourne's home state of Victoria.

India has recorded 196,427 new COVID-19 cases - the lowest rise in daily infections since 14 April. 3,511 new deaths from COVID-19 were also reported.

The US State Department has urged against travel to Japan because of new COVID-19 cases just two months before the Tokyo Olympic Games are set to start.

Fully vaccinated people in Chile will be allowed to move more freely within the country, the government announced yesterday. However, the country's borders will remain closed until the middle of next month.

Thailand will extend the gap between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to 16 weeks, in an effort to vaccinate more people more quickly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Switzerland have announced plans for a global BioHub. The facility will serve as centre for pathogen storage, sharing and analysis.

Share of people who received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in selected countries
Share of people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in selected countries
Image: Our World in Data

2. US reports lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly a year

The United States reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly a year last week. New infections fell to just under 180,000, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

Deaths also fell to their lowest weekly total since March 2020 - 3,969.

About 39% of the country's population has been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, and 49% has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the rate of vaccination has been slowing. 1.8 million vaccine doses were administered on average per day last week, down from a peak of 3.1 million shots per day in April.

3. 'Scandalous inequity' perpetuating the pandemic: WHO

The Director-General of the World Health Organization has used his opening remarks at the World Health Assembly to praise the efforts of health workers around the world and once again called for a more equitable vaccine rollout.

"We must be very clear," Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "The pandemic is not over, and it will not be over until and unless transmission is controlled in every last country"

"The ongoing vaccine crisis is a scandalous inequity that is perpetuating the pandemic," he added.

He announced a 'Drive to December' effort to vaccinate at least 30% of the population of every country by the end of the year. To achieve this, Dr Tedros called on countries to share doses through COVAX - the vaccine-sharing facility - to scale-up manufacturing and fully fund the ACT Accelerator.

"A small group of countries that make and buy the majority of the world’s vaccines control the fate of the rest of the world," he said.