• 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: President Biden pledges half a billion vaccines; WHO urges countries to support Africa's vaccine campaign; Chile locks down capital.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 174.8 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.77 million. More than 2.26 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Health authorities in Chile have announced a blanket lockdown across the capital Santiago following a rise in COVID-19 case numbers. The move comes despite the country having fully vaccinated more than half its population.

The United States has administered 305,687,618 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 372,830,865 doses in the country as of Thursday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Singapore will start a phased easing of its COVID-19 restrictions from next week. Steps include including allowing up to five people to gather - up from two currently.

On Friday, India reported 91,702 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, and 3,403 daily deaths from the coronavirus.

India's total COVID-19 caseload now stands at 29.3 million, while total fatalities are at 363,079.

The Philippines will exempt elderly people who have been fully vaccinated from stay-at-home orders to encourage more to get inoculated and help authorities meet COVID-19 immunisation targets, officials said on Friday.


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.

2. U.S. to purchase half a billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries

"Half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in August, as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line," Biden said at a news conference before the G7 summit in Britain.

Biden, speaking alongside Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay ahead of the G7 summit, thanked other leaders for recognising their responsibility to vaccinate the world.

"The United States is providing these half-billion doses with no strings attached," Biden said. "Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favours, or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also pledged that the UK would give at least 100 million surplus vaccines to the poorest nations and is expected to urge other G7 leaders to do the same.

Johnson had already called on G7 leaders to commit to vaccinate the entire world by the end of 2022. The group is expected to pledge 1 billion doses during the summit.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by country income group
COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by country income group
Image: Our World in Data

3. WHO says 9 in 10 African countries to miss COVID-19 vaccination goal

About 90% of African countries will miss a September target to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations against COVID-19 as a third wave of the pandemic looms on the continent, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Thursday.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said the continent required an extra 225 million doses to be able meet the target.

"With vaccine stocks and shipments drying up, the continent's vaccination coverage for the first dose remains stuck at 2% and at about 1% in sub-saharan Africa," Moeti told a weekly news briefing.

"Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines. It's do or die on dose sharing for Africa."

Africa Centres for Disease Control director John Nkengasong said separately that 14 African countries were "aggressively" heading towards a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

"You can clearly see that the variant that was identified in India is getting a hold on the continent. We continue to analyse the situation and see whether there is correlation between the variant and the third wave," Nkengasong said.