COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 29 July

People in protective face masks walk through the quiet city centre during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, July 28, 2021.  REUTERS/Loren Elliott - RC2HTO9R8XP3
Central Sydney is much quieter than usual as a result of ongoing lockdown restrictions.
Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott - RC2HTO9R8XP3
  • 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: COVID-19 continues to hit Americas hard; England scraps quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from US and EU; Record case rise in New South Wales, Australia.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 195.9 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.18 million. More than 3.97 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

New South Wales, Australia, has recorded its largest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Johnson & Johnson said yesterday the US Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from 4.5 to 6 months.

American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks has been ruled out of the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, which has, in turn, led to members of the Australian team being put into isolation.

It comes as a Tokyo 2020 spokesperson confirmed that two people attending from overseas have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Neither case was said to be serious.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told his government to open the country's COVID-19 vaccination programme to anyone who wants a vaccine.

Federal agencies across the US have mandated masks at federal buildings in COVID-19 hotspots, following new instructions issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

It comes as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that two-thirds of US counties had COVID-19 transmission rates high enough to warrant indoor mask-wearing.

Cambodia is set to introduce a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand from midnight tonight. It's hoped the measure will prevent the spread of the Delta variant in the country.

New Zealand's health regulator has given provisional approval for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. It's only been using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in its inoculation programme so far.

Alberta, Canada, is dropping its quarantine requirement for close contacts of COVID-19 cases. It comes as the neighbouring state of British Columbia reintroduces mandatory mask-wearing.

Restrictions could be tightened in Viet Nam's major cities in response to rising COVID-19 cases, authorities said yesterday.

Daily COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people in selected countries.
Daily COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people in selected countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. England scraps quarantine for fully vaccinated EU, US arrivals

Fully vaccinated arrivals to England from the European Union and United States will not need to quarantine from next week. Devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales said they would follow suit.

The move is seen as a major boost for airlines and travel companies, although some warned that more was needed and criticised the move as coming too late.

"It's the right thing, it should be done, but like I said it is little bit too late," easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren told LBC.

France is not included in the exemption, with the UK government citing the presence of the Beta variant there.

3. COVID-19 continues to hit the Americas hard: PAHO

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has warned that COVID-19 continues to hit the Americas hard. Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay are all among the countries with the world's highest weekly death rates.

The last week saw more than 1.26 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 29,000 deaths reported in the region.

"As COVID continues to circulate, too many places have relaxed the public health and social measures that have proven effective against this virus," PAHO Director Carissa Etienne told a briefing.

And with just 16.6% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there are significant hurdles still to overcome.

"The good news is that vaccines work against the variants, including Delta, in terms of preventing severe disease and death. The bad news is that we do not have yet enough vaccines to stop community transmission," Etienne added.

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.

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