• 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: Lockdown extended again in Sydney; Italy says 99% of COVID-19 deaths since February were among people not fully vaccinated; Change in mask-wearing guidance in the United States.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 195.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.17 million. More than 3.94 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

South Korea has reported its highest ever daily increase in COVID-19 cases, after recording 1,896 new confirmed infections.

Saudi Arabia will impose a three-year travel ban on residents who travel to countries on its 'red list', state news agency SPA said yesterday.

Kuwait has announced that only citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed abroad from 1 August.

Britain has reported its highest number of COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalized COVID-19 patients since March. 131 new deaths were reported yesterday, although just 14 were reported on Monday, suggesting the weekend might have delayed reporting.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that fully vaccinated Americans should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in areas where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.

Thailand is planning to turn 15 disused railway carriages in capital Bangkok into a 240-bed COVID-19 isolation ward for those with less severe symptoms.

Ireland has joined other European Union members in committing to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15. It comes as it opened its vaccination programme to 16- and 17-year-olds yesterday. Its programme is currently running at one of the fastest rates in Europe.

Argentina has signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for delivery this year.

Tokyo has reported 2,848 new COVID-19 infections, the city's highest level since the pandemic began.

US President Joe Biden is considering whether federal workers might be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. Sydney lockdown extended

A lockdown in Australia's biggest city, Sydney, has been extended by at least 4 weeks. The move comes as COVID-19 cases remain high.

The state of New South Wales, which has Sydney as its capital, reported 177 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, up from 172 the day before. That represents the biggest increase of the current outbreak. Authorities are particularly concerned that at least 46 of the new cases were people active in the community before being diagnosed.

"I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a televised news conference.

She added that police would boost the enforcement of social-distancing measures.

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. Italy: 99% of COVID deaths among people not fully vaccinated

Almost 99% of people who have died of COVID-19 in Italy since February 2021 were not fully vaccinated, the National Health Institute said yesterday.

The study, which was part of a regular report on COVID-19 deaths, added that the few fully vaccinated people who had died of COVID-19 were significantly older and had more underlying health problems than those who died without full vaccination.

Italy announced last week that proof of vaccination or immunity from COVID-19 would become mandatory for a variety of activities, including indoor dining and entering facilities such as pools, gyms, museums or cinemas.