• 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: Face masks set to become a personal choice in England; 'Very dangerous period' of the pandemic: WHO; Confirmed COVID-19-related deaths in Brazil pass 524,000.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 183.7 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.97 million. More than 3.19 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Indonesia has ordered oxygen makers to prioritize medical needs as demand grows following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has warned the country could be heading for a fourth wave and urged people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Israel is in talks with other countries about a deal to unload its surplus of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines - doses of which are due to expire at the end of the month.

South Korea is in talks with mRNA vaccine makers - including Pfizer and Moderna - to make COVID-19 vaccines in the country. It's ready to make up to 1 billion doses immediately, a senior government official said.

The next two days are 'critical' in deciding whether a two-week lockdown will need to be extended in Sydney. New South Wales reported 35 new locally acquired cases today.

Fiji is reporting record rises in COVID-19 cases, with the mortuary at the country's largest hospital now full, its health ministry said today.

Confirmed COVID-19-related deaths in Brazil have passed 524,000, with 830 new deaths announced yesterday.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths in selected countries
Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths in selected countries
Image: Our World in Data

One million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States are due to arrive in Malaysia today.

It comes as Malaysia says it will ease COVID-19 lockdowns in five states next week, that have met the government's indicators for doing so.

South Africa has approved China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine amid a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

2. Face masks set to become a personal choice in England

Wearing a face covering is set to become a personal choice in England, with almost all other restrictions set to be lifted on 19 July.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the data that will determine whether curbs can be eased was looking 'very positive'.

"It does seem as if we can now move forward and move to a much more permissive regime where we move away from many of those restrictions that have been so difficult for us," he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline his plan for the final step of easing lockdown in England today.

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: Join hands in support of social entrepreneurs everywhere as vital first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green, inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlines 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and corporations. In January of 2021, its members launched its 2021 Roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 areas of work. Including corporate access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information see the Alliance website or its “impact story” here.

3. 'Very dangerous period' of the pandemic: WHO

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in a media briefing on Friday that "we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic".

The emergence of the Delta variant, low vaccination coverage in many countries and potential further mutation of the virus all pose risks.

There are two ways for countries to push back against new surges, he said.

"Public health and social measures like strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care remain critical.

"As well as masking, physical distance, avoiding crowded places and keeping indoor areas well ventilated ...

"And second, the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines."