• 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: Pfizer/BioNTech say COVID-19 booster shot showed high efficacy in study; Mixing indoors driving Europe rise in cases; US calls for WTO members to support intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 242.4 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.92 million. More than 6.76 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson jabs. They also said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

The US has called on all World Trade Organization (WTO) members to support an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.

New Zealand has set a 90% vaccination target to end its strict COVID-19 restrictions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday.

Lockdown restrictions have been eased in Melbourne, Australia, with pubs, restaurants and hair salons reopening.

Bavaria's leader, Markus Soeder, said yesterday that Germany should not let its COVID-19-related state of emergency expire as cases rise again.

Thailand is set to allow quarantine-free travel from 46 countries from 1 November, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced Thursday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the G20 to step up donations of COVID-19 vaccine doses to the global south.

The WHO also said COVID-19 may have killed between 80,000 and 180,000 healthcare workers up to May of this year - and insisted they be prioritized for vaccination.

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. Pfizer/BioNTech say COVID-19 booster shot showed high efficacy in study

A booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 95.6% effective against the disease when compared to a vaccinated group that did not get the third shot, data from a large study released by the companies has shown.

The companies in a release said the booster was tested on 10,000 participants aged 16 and older who had received two doses in its earlier trials. A booster administered about 11 months after the second shot had a favourable safety profile and worked against the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, they said. The data has not been submitted for peer review.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they would submit detailed results of the trial for peer-reviewed publication to the US Federal Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory agencies as soon as possible.

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. Winter move indoors driving COVID-19 rise in Europe - WHO

The move of social interaction and mixing indoors as the Northern Hemisphere winter sets in is driving a rise in COVID-19 infections in many countries across Europe, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Mike Ryan, said yesterday.

"Most of those restrictions are now not in place anymore in many countries. And we're seeing that coincide with the winter period in which people are moving inside as the cold snaps appear," Ryan told a news briefing.

"The question remains as to whether or not we will have the same experience as last year with health systems coming once again under pressure."