• 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: Warning over virus spread in the Americas; Scottish study underscores rarity of complications from AstraZeneca vaccine; India reports highest single-day COVID-19 death toll.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 174.4 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.75 million. More than 2.22 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

India has recorded the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 in the world, at 6,148. The United States had previously recorded 5,444 on 12 February.

Two Australian states are rushing to trace contacts after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria through New South Wales and into Queensland - visiting dozens of sites en route.

Canada has announced it's prepared to relax quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated citizens returning home starting in early July.

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to work to open up travel between the two countries as soon as possible, the British government said in a statement.

South Korea is considering vaccinating workers at key businesses - including chip and electronic firms - the government has said. It comes amid global efforts to boost supply of scarce computer chips.

The US government has agreed to buy 1.7 million courses of Merck & Co's experimental COVID-19 treatment, if it is proven to work in an ongoing trial and approved by regulators, the company said yesterday.

Stricter COVID-19 rules will remain in place in Lisbon next Monday, as restrictions relax in most of Portugal, as a result of concern about rising COVID-19 cases.

The Delta coronavirus variant of concern is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, a prominent UK epidemiologist said yesterday.


How is the World Economic Forum helping to identify new technologies to fight COVID-19?

As part of work identifying promising technology use cases to combat COVID, The Boston Consulting Group recently used contextual AI to analyze more than 150 million English language media articles from 30 countries published between December 2019 to May 2020.

The result is a compendium of hundreds of technology use cases. It more than triples the number of solutions, providing better visibility into the diverse uses of technology for the COVID-19 response.

To see a full list of 200+ exciting technology use cases during COVID – please follow this link.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has warned that if the spread of COVID-19 continues at current rates, it will be years before it is controlled in the Americas.

"If current trends continue, the health, social and economic disparities in our region will grow even larger, and it will be years before we control this virus in the Americas," PAHO Director Carissa Etienne told a weekly news conference.

The organization called for more vaccine donations, with just 10% of the populations of Latin America and the Caribbean fully vaccinated. "Vaccine donations are essential in the short-term," Etienne said.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by continent.
COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by continent.
Image: Our World in Data

3. Scottish study underscores rarity of complications from AstraZeneca jab

A Scottish study has underscored the rarity of potential complications associated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found only an association with a largely harmless bleeding condition and no link to brain clots.

The researchers tracked the health of 5.4 million people in Scotland, found that one additional case of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) per 100,000 people occurred after the first injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The study found no association with venous clotting in the brain - known as CVST. However, the study's lead University of Edinburgh Professor Aziz Sheikh cautioned the sample might have been too small to allow for any conclusions given the rarity of CVST.

"The overall message is just the rarity of these outcomes," said Aziz. "This is reassuring data, and we would very strongly encourage people, when they receive the invitation to get vaccinated, to go ahead."