COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 23 June

A health worker walks with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a mass vaccination programme for people over 50 years of age at a baseball stadium in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez - RC2S5O9ZSYSN
In Mexico, the mass vaccination drive includes use of a baseball stadium as a centre.
Image: REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
  • 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: India says new variant is a concern; Restrictions raised in Wellington, New Zealand; AstraZeneca says its vaccine is effective against Delta and Kappa variants.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 179.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.88 million. More than 2.7 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is the biggest threat to U.S. attempts to eradicate the disease within its borders, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a Tuesday press call.

US officials have also said that the country is likely to miss its target of delivering at least one COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of adults by 4 July.

The University of Oxford is testing an anti-parasitic drug - ivermectin - as a possible treatment for COVID-19. The research is part of a UK government-backed study to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings.

AstraZeneca said yesterday its COVID-19 vaccine is effective against Delta and Kappa variants, citing an Oxford University study.

The European Union has taken up an option to buy an additional 150 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the US drugmaker.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, will offer free COVID-19 vaccines to tourists.

Sweden will offer COVID-19 vaccines to all people aged 16 and over, the Health Agency announced yesterday. This expands the rollout, which was previously limited to those 18 and older.

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

2. India says new variant is a concern

India has declared a new COVID-19 variant to be of concern, saying nearly two dozen cases have been detected in three states.

The variant, identified locally as 'Delta plus', was found in 16 cases in Maharashtra state Federal Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference.

The ministry said Delta plus showed increased transmissibility.

On Monday, India vaccinated a record 8.6 million people, as it begins to offer free shots to all adults.

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.

3. Restrictions increased in Wellington, New Zealand

The COVID-19 alert level in New Zealand capital Wellington has been raised over concerns the city might have been exposed to the Delta variant.

The city will move to the country's 'Alert Level 2' - one level short of lockdown - until midnight Sunday. The precautionary move comes after an Australian tourist tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Sydney from a visit to Wellington.

"This is not a lockdown ... these are precautionary measures, which will remain in place while we contact trace and test all of those we need to," New Zealand's COVID-response minister, Chris Hipkins, said at a news conference in Wellington.

Under the alert level, offices, schools and businesses can remain open but will have to maintain social distancing rules. Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions, but gatherings of more than 100 people are not allowed, including weddings, funeral and other events.

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