• 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 stories: New Zealand shifts COVID-19 strategy to living with coronavirus; Austria enters fourth COVID-19 lockdown; schools in South Korea open fully for the first time since 2020.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 257.6 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.15 million. More than 7.71 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the coronavirus from 3 Decemer, which will end tough restrictions and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

China administered about 6.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on 21 November, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.437 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed on Monday.

It comes as China reported 38 new confirmed COVID-19 cases for, up from 17 a day earlier.

Singapore's government is easing some of the tight social curbs it imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, after infections stabilized in the city-state over the past month. From Monday, limits on social interactions and dining out will be expanded to five people from the current rule of up to two vaccinated people, government ministers told a news conference on Saturday.

Australia will allow entry for fully-vaccinated eligible visa holders in the country from 1 December, without applying for a travel exemption, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

Brazil reported 8,833 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 217 deaths, the health ministry said on Saturday.

All schools in South Korea resumed in-person classes on Monday, for the first time since the country began battling the COVID-19 outbreak early in 2020.

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

2. Austria's fourth COVID-19 lockdown begins

Austria powered down public life on Monday as its fourth national COVID-19 lockdown began, making it the first western European country to reimpose the drastic and unpopular measure this autumn in the face of surging coronavirus infections.

This lockdown is similar to previous ones but is the first introduced since vaccines became widely available. Most places people gather, like restaurants, cafes, bars, theatres, non-essential shops and hairdressers cannot open their doors for 10 days initially and maybe as many as 20, the government said.

Christmas markets, a big draw for tourists that had only just begun to open, must also shut but, in a last-minute change, ski lifts can remain open to the vaccinated. Hotels will, however, close to tourists not already staying there when the lockdown began.

"It is a situation where we have to react now," Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told ORF TV on Sunday night.

"A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers here."

health and healthcare, COVID

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.

Throughout 2020, along with launching its COVID Action Platform, the Forum and its Partners launched more than 40 initiatives in response to the pandemic.

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.

3. Dollar solid, euro suffers over Europe's COVID situation

The safe-haven US dollar traded close to a 16-month high to the euro on Monday on growing anxiety over the impact of surging COVID-19 infections in Europe, with Austria reimposing a full lockdown and Germany considering following suit.

The greenback was near its strongest since early October against the riskier Australian and Canadian dollars, with the commodity-linked currencies also pressured by a slump in crude oil.

The dollar got additional support from bullish comments by Federal Reserve officials Richard Clarida and Christopher Waller on Friday who suggested a faster pace of stimulus tapering may be appropriate amid a quickening recovery and heated inflation.