• 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: Austria enters lockdown for unvaccinated; China battles biggest COVID-19 outbreak; Germany plans tighter measures; Japan's economy shrinks more than expected.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 253.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.1 million. More than 7.48 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Austria has entered a lockdown for people not vaccinated against the coronavirus, with reinforced police checks to ensure compliance, though city streets appeared as busy as usual. The conservative-led government says that around 2 million people in the country of roughly 9 million are now only allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons like travelling to work or shopping for essentials.

Austria has one of Europe's highest infection rates, with a seven-day incidence of 815 per 100,000 people.

China is battling the spread of its biggest COVID-19 outbreak caused by the Delta variant, according to numbers announced on Monday, with travellers from a city where infections have grown faster than elsewhere in the country subject to tough quarantine rules in nearby areas.

Russia on Monday reported 1,211 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, close to an all-time high of 1,241 reported last week, as well as 38,420 new coronavirus cases.

Britain reported 36,517 cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday, according to government data.

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

It comes as Britain's COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout is to be extended to people aged between 40 and 49, officials said on Monday, in a bid to boost waning immunity in the population ahead of the colder winter months.

Israel said on Sunday that children aged five to 11 would be eligible for vaccination against COVID-19, and that a starting date for the campaign would be made public within days.

Australia, quickly becoming one of most-vaccinated nations against COVID-19, will likely start administering the shots for children under the age of 12 in January, officials said on Sunday.

The United States administered over 9.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the past seven days, a White House official said on Saturday, the highest weekly total since late May.

Morocco will conduct rapid COVID-19 tests to passengers arriving in its airports and ports, and will deny access to any visitor with a positive result, the government said on Saturday.

2. Tighter measures planned as Germany's COVID-19 infection rate hits new high

Germany's coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, as the three parties in talks to form a new government plan an expansion of measures to tackle the pandemic.

The seven-day incidence rate - the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week - rose to 303 from 289 the previous day, figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday. The number of deaths increased by 43 to a total of 97,715.

The three parties in talks to form a coalition plan to tighten proposed measures to tackle the spread of the new wave of infections, Greens co-leader Robert Habeck said before their plans go to parliament on Thursday.

"We are expanding the toolbox compared to the proposals introduced in the first reading," Habeck told broadcaster ARD.

The measures will include contact restrictions, Reuters reported.

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. Japan's economy shrinks more than expected

Japan's economy contracted much faster than expected in the third quarter as global supply disruptions hit exports and business spending plans and fresh COVID-19 cases soured the consumer mood.

While many analysts expect the world's third-largest economy to rebound in the current quarter as virus curbs ease, worsening global production bottlenecks pose increasing risks to export-reliant Japan.

"The contraction was far bigger than expected due to supply-chain constraints, which hit car output and capital spending hard," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

"We expect the economy to stage a rebound this quarter but the pace of recovery will be slow as consumption did not get off to a good start even after COVID-19 curbs were eased late in September."

The economy shrank an annualised 3.0% in July-September after a revised 1.5% gain in the second quarter, preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) data showed on Monday, much worse than a median market forecast for a 0.8% contraction.

The weak GDP contrasts with more promising readings from other advanced nations such as the United States, where the economy expanded 2.0% in the third quarter on strong pent-up demand.