COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 8 July

Passengers wait on socially distanced chairs at Heathrow Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID19) pandemic in London, Britain July 7, 2021.    REUTERS/Kevin Coombs - RC2RFO9FE2PS
Many social distancing measures remain in place across the globe.
Image: REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
  • 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: Global confirmed death toll passes 4 million; World at 'perilous point' warns WHO; New support for variant identification and tracking.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 185 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4 million. More than 3.29 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Confirmed new COVID-19 cases have risen for the first time in more than two months in Germany.

It comes as the German government also announced plans to donate all its remaining AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses in August.

The Dutch government is reviewing its options following a spike in COVID-19 cases after an easing of restrictions.

Viet Nam is set to impose restrictions in Ho Chi Minh city for 15 days from Friday to tackle an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

Turkmenistan has announced it's making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all residents over 18 years old.

The Australian state of New South Wales has reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired COVID-19 cases so far this year, despite a lockdown in capital Sydney.

South Korea has reported its highest ever single-day rise in new COVID-19 infections. Officials are considering imposing a semi-lockdown in capital Seoul in an effort to clamp down.

COVID-19 infections in England have quadrupled in a month since early June, a large study led by Imperial College London has shown.

Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths globally and in selected countries.
Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 deaths globally and in selected countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. World at 'perilous point': WHO

The Director-General of the World Health Organization warned in a media briefing yesterday that the "world is at a perilous point in this pandemic."

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while some countries were planning to roll out booster shots and ease restrictions, the global inequity in vaccine production and distribution means that "variants are currently winning the race against vaccines".

"Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion’s share, is morally indefensible and an ineffective public health strategy against a respiratory virus that is mutating quickly and becoming increasingly effective at moving from human-to-human," he said.

Dr Tedros also acknowledged that more than 4 million confirmed COVID-19 deaths have now been recorded. He cautioned though that this "likely underestimates the overall toll".

"From a moral, epidemiological or economic point of view, now is the time for the world to come together to tackle this pandemic collectively," he said.

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, also warned countries "not to lose the gains you've made" by opening up too quickly.

3. New support to track COVID-19 variants with genomic sequencing

The UK has announced it will provide genomic sequencing assistance to Pakistan, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria to help identify, assess and track new variants of COVID-19.

Public Health England (PHE) will extend support to Britain's partners through the New Variant Assessment Platform Programme, which tracks changes in the virus. PHE has already sequenced samples from Ukraine, Tajikistan, Albania and Kyrgyzstan.

"New SARS-CoV-2 variants are a major threat and it is important to remember that in a global pandemic, no country is safe until all countries are safe," said Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency.


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.

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