• 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: UK records highest number of cases since February; Ukraine sets vaccination record; Taj Mahal reopens to visitors in India.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 177 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.8 million. More than 2.5 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The UK has recorded its highest daily total of new coronavirus infections since February - at 9,055. It comes as a study found the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant has driven a 50% rise in infections in England since May.

Ukraine has set a record for the daily number of coronavirus inoculations, according to the health ministry, with 76,538 Ukrainians vaccinated on Wednesday.

Japan is set to ease a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas, ahead of the Olympic Games. The government is also due to allow spectators into the Olympics, with a 10,000 cap.

German biotech CureVac NV said on Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine was only 47% effective in a late-stage trial, Reuters reports. The news throws into doubt the potential delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to the European Union.

The Taj Mahal reopened to the public on Wednesday as India, still reeling from a disastrous second wave of the pandemic, pushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalize its economy.

Australia will recommend only people over 60 receive AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, Minister for Health Greg Hunt said on Thursday, following a spate of blood clots in those who have received the inoculation.

Pfizer said on Wednesday its oral rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz reduced death or respiratory failure in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with pneumonia in Brazil.

2. UK experts: Vaccinate young people to stem third wave

Scientists at Imperial College London say vaccinating all adults - and potentially children under 18 - would "mitigate a significant third wave" in the UK, as the Delta variant continues to spread.

A study commissioned by the government, as it weighed up whether to ease COVID-19 restrictions on 21 June, said almost three-quarters of the adult population in England have received at least one vaccine dose and 50% have received two doses.

But it said the more contagious B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant could lead to a "significant third wave of hospitalizations and deaths similar to or larger than the winter wave".

The scientists recommended delaying the planned easing of restrictions to reduce the third wave and "allow more time for alternative control strategies such as booster doses and vaccination of <18 years to be considered and implemented".

Cumulative COVID-19 vaccine uptake by 1 June 2021 by age for England.
COVID-19 vaccine uptake by different age groups in England.
Image: Imperial College London

Limits will remain in place at sporting events, theatres and cinemas, while nightclubs will remain closed, and people should continue to work from home where possible.