• This daily news 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 news stories: COVID-19 restrictions extended in Auckland; Thailand and Australia eased pandemic-related travel restrictions; New COVID-19 cases down 13.5% in Britain.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 246.7 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5 million. More than 7.04 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has declared the country reopened and ready for a new way of life, having surpassed its COVID-19 vaccination target.

South Korea has also eased a number of COVID-19 restrictions, and introduced vaccine passports, as the country moves towards 'living with COVID-19'.

Mexico received nearly 6 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, its health ministry said. It follows the arrival of nearly 6.5 million Sputnik V vaccine doses last Tuesday.

Singapore could see as many as 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually, Janil Puthucheary, a senior minister of state said in parliament on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates has approved for emergency use the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

New COVID-19 cases in Britain from 25 to 31 October have fallen 13.5% compared with the previous 7 days.

New COVID-19 cases topped 7,000 in France on Saturday for the first time since 21 September, hitting 7,360.

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

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.

2. Thailand, Australia ease border restrictions

Thailand and Australia have both significantly eased international border restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of vaccinated foreign tourists arrived in the Thai capital for quarantine-free travel after the southeast Asian nation gave the green light for such visitors from more than 60 countries, including China and the United States.

Hundreds of citizens arrived in Australia - the first to arrive without a permit or the need to quarantine since April 2020. While travel is limited at first to just a few states and to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and New Zealand nationals, it heralds a plan to re-open to international tourists and workers.

Australia's announcement of quarantine-free travel for Singapore citizens from 21 November was a step forward to 'a new normal', said Philip Goh, the Asia-Pacific vice president of airline trade body IATA.

"We are excited by this positive development and we look forward to further easing of border restrictions by Australia and other countries in the region," Goh said.

3. Restrictions extended in Auckland, New Zealand

Authorities have extended COVID-19 restrictions for another week in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. However, some will be eased after that, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

A 10 November re-opening date for retail stores and institutions such as libraries and museums has been agreed, Ardern told a news conference.

"Because of the high vaccination rates in Auckland we can move with greater confidence," Ardern said. "These decisions are carefully balanced and allow us to release some of the pressure and fatigue that we know exists in Auckland."

New Zealand has been unable to quash the current outbreak, forcing it to adopt a strategy of living with the virus instead of the earlier aim of elimination.

"Previously we worked hard to eliminate every case. While Delta has forced us to change our approach, vaccines ensure we have the same goal," Ardern said.

More than 75% of New Zealand, or about 3.1 million people, have now been fully vaccinated, while 88% have got one dose.