- 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: WHO gives Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Use Listing; BioNTech to open mRNA manufacturing site in Singapore; WHO warning on universal health coverage.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 158.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.29 million. More than 1.28 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
New cases and deaths have held close to record highs in the latest data from India, with calls for a national lockdown.
It comes as the defence ministry announces plans to recruit hundreds of ex-army medics to help support the healthcare system.
The European Union has not made any new orders for AstraZeneca vaccines beyond the end of their contract in June, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Sunday.
It comes as the bloc signed a new contract with Pfizer-BioNTech to receive 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2021-2023.
Bangladesh has detected its first case of a COVID-19 variant first identified in India, prompting the government to keep its border closed for at least another two weeks.
Sri Lanka has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Laos has reported its first death from COVID-19. It was one of few countries left yet to report a death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has given Emergency Use Listing to the Sinopharm Beijing’s COVID-19 vaccine - the sixth vaccine to receive WHO approval.
2. WHO warning on universal health coverage
The WHO's Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned the world is 'going in the wrong direction' on universal health coverage.
"Around the world, more households are spending an increasing proportion of their income on health," he told a media briefing on Friday.
"As we recover and rebuild, we have a unique moment to mobilize investments for healthier, more resilient, more productive and more sustainable societies," he said.
"We need a new narrative that makes health for all the central goal of public policies on innovation, industry, employment, environment and more."
As a result, the organization has established a new WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All.
3. BioNTech to build base in Singapore
BioNTech has announced plans to establish a regional headquarters for south-east Asia in Singapore, with plans for an mRNA manufacturing facility in the city state. mRNA is the technology behind the COVID-19 vaccine the company has developed with Pfizer.
The company hopes the site could be operational as early as 2023.
"With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people around the world,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.
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.