- 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: Record COVID-19 case numbers reported around the world; Vaccine equity vital to ending COVID-19 pandemic; US warns against travel to 22 nations and territories.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 334.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.55 million. More than 9.73 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
Japan is set to widen COVID-19 curbs to the capital, Tokyo, and a dozen regions covering half the population as the Omicron COVID-19 variant drives record new infections.
There is no evidence at present that healthy children and adolescents need booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said yesterday.
China has reported its lowest daily count of local confirmed COVID-19 infections in two weeks.
The US government's new website that allows American households to order four free COVID-19 tests is up and running ahead of its official launch today, the White House said yesterday.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against travel to 22 countries and territories as a result of rising COVID-19 cases.
Finland is set to ease COVID-19 restrictions from mid-February, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said yesterday.
Britain has reported its highest daily COVID-19 death toll in almost a year, with 438 new deaths.
Viet Nam has reported its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the community, state media has reported.
How is the World Economic Forum helping to identify new technologies to fight COVID-19?
As part of work identifying promising technology use cases to combat COVID, The Boston Consulting Group recently used contextual AI to analyze more than 150 million English language media articles from 30 countries published between December 2019 to May 2020.
The result is a compendium of hundreds of technology use cases. It more than triples the number of solutions, providing better visibility into the diverse uses of technology for the COVID-19 response.
To see a full list of 200+ exciting technology use cases during COVID – please follow this link.
2. Record COVID-19 case numbers reported around the world
Countries around the world continue to report record daily COVID-19 infections as the Omicron variant causes cases to surge.
The Czech Republic has reported 28,469 new COVID-19 cases - the highest figure since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
In Bulgaria, more than 11,000 confirmed daily COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time, as infections hit 11,181. Total confirmed infections are more than 840,000 in the eastern European nation.
Mexico has reported its own record daily confirmed caseload - some 49,343 in a single day.
New daily COVID-19 cases have crossed 100,000 in Germany for the first time, reporting 112,323 on Wednesday.
And in Brazil, 137,103 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said yesterday.
3. Vaccine equity vital to ending COVID-19 pandemic
World Health Organization's (WHO) Emergencies Director Mike Ryan said that over half of the world's population has received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only 7% of the population has been fully vaccinated in Africa.
"The problem is we are leaving huge swathes of the world behind...But vaccines are absolutely central. There is no way out of the pandemic right now without vaccines as the central strategic pillar."
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control, said it was "unacceptable" that Africa was lagging so far behind other countries in vaccination and called it 'collapse of global cooperation and solidarity'
"The only way to prevent other variants challenging the global efforts and advances we have seen is to vaccinate on scale, including Africa," said John Nkengasong.