- 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: Britain hosting G7 health summit; Tokyo Olympics going ahead; President Biden announces new vaccine incentives; Japan summit secures $2.4 billion for vaccine sharing.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 171.6 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.69 million. More than 1.98 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
India had 134,154 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, while deaths from the coronavirus rose by 2,887. The country's total COVID-19 caseload now stands at 28.4 million, while total fatalities are at 337,989, according to health ministry data.
The Indian government has ordered 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from local firm Biological-E, the health ministry said. The vaccine is still undergoing phase-3 clinical trials, before approvals can be given.
Britain is hosting health ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy countries in Oxford for a two-day summit, as pressure intensifies to do more to broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines across the world.
Meanwhile, health minister Matt Hancock said the government is in talks with Oxford and AstraZeneca for doses of an altered COVID-19 vaccine that better targets the “beta” coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.
With 50 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto has said she is "100%" certain the Olympics will go ahead. But the Games, due to begin on 23 July, may go ahead without spectators if a coronavirus outbreak occurs, reports the BBC.
President Joe Biden has announced new incentives to reach his target of 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated by July 4, reports Bloomberg. They include free child care available during vaccine appointments and free beer.
New COVID-19 cases in France stayed below 10,000 for the second day in a row on Wednesday as pressure on hospitals eased further and the daily death toll dropped sharply from last week.
Climbers returning from Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks are struggling to find a return flight back home after Nepal banned most air travel to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, mountaineering operators and hikers said on Wednesday.
2. Summit secures additional $2.4 billion for COVID vaccines for poor countries
Almost $2.4 billion was pledged by countries and private donors on Wednesday to COVAX, to make COVID-19 vaccines more available to people in poorer nations, reports Reuters.
The announcements, ranging from $2,500 from island nation Mauritius to millions of dollars and doses from wealthier countries, came during a video summit hosted by Japan and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which leads the COVAX facility alongside the World Health Organization.
The funds will allow COVAX to secure 1.8 billion fully subsidized doses for delivery to lower-income countries in 2021 and early 2022, enough to protect 30% of adults in those nations, GAVI said in a statement.
"We have taken a big step towards 'one world protected'," said Jose Manuel Barroso, GAVI chairman. The fresh funds brought total COVAX financing to $9.6 billion, he added.
How has the Forum navigated the global response to COVID-19?
One year on: we look back at how the Forum’s networks have navigated the global response to COVID-19.
Using a multistakeholder approach, the Forum and its partners through its COVID Action Platform have provided countless solutions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, protecting lives and livelihoods.
The work continues. As one example, the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs is supporting 90,000 social entrepreneurs, with an impact on 1.4 billion people, working to serve the needs of excluded, marginalized and vulnerable groups in more than 190 countries.
Read more about the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, our support of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemics Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), and the COVAX initiative and innovative approaches to solve the pandemic, like our Common Trust Network – aiming to help roll out a “digital passport” in our Impact Story.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose government pledged an additional $800 million, called the result "an extremely significant and meaningful step" toward equitable vaccine access.
The COVAX mechanism has distributed 77 million doses to 127 countries since February but has been stymied by India restricting exports of vaccines amid a major outbreak there.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated concerns that Western nations have vaccinated high percentages of their people, while health workers in places like Africa remain unprotected.
"Of the 1.8 billion vaccines administered globally just 0.4% have been administered in low-income countries," he said. "This is ethically, epidemiologically and economically unacceptable."