COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 February

A medical worker walks past a makeshift testing centre for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following the latest outbreak, outside a shopping mall at Sha Tin district, in Hong Kong, SAR, China, 7 February, 2022.
Hong Kong, SAR, is dealing with a record rise in COVID-19 cases.
Image: REUTERS/Lam Yik/File Photo
  • 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: ACT-Accelerator facing funding gap; discovery of Omicron in New York deer raises concerns; Malaysia set to reopen borders after COVID-19 closures.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 400.9 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.76 million. More than 10.24 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Hong Kong, SAR, has seen daily COVID-19 infections nearly double to a record 1,161 cases on Wednesday, authorities said.

The EU's drugs regulator has launched a review to evaluate whether the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could be used as a third booster dose in adolescents aged 12 to 15.

Uganda is preparing legislation that would make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory. Only around 12.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country of 45 million people.

Turkey has recorded 111,096 new confirmed COVID-19 infections in the space of 24 hours, just below the record daily high from the previous week, as well as its highest daily death toll in months, health ministry data showed on Tuesday.

Malaysia's coronavirus recovery council has recommended a full reopening of borders as early as 1 March without mandatory quarantine for travellers, as part of plans to accelerate its economic recovery.

Australia's COVID-19 hospital cases and people admitted to intensive care continued to trend lower on Tuesday. Authorities are continuing to urge people get COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

A quarter of British employers have cited long COVID as a main cause of long-term sickness absences, a survey by a professional body found on Tuesday.

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

What is the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is one of the largest multi-stakeholder collaborations in the social innovation sector.

The Alliance has 100 members – corporations, investors, philanthropists, governments, researchers, media, and industry actors – who work together to build an engaged ecosystem of key public and private sector leaders in support of a social innovation movement that transforms society to be more just, sustainable and equitable.

Launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis by the Schwab Foundation together with Ashoka, Catalyst2030, Echoing Green, GHR Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and Yunus Social Business in April 2020.

In that pursuit, the Global Alliance will continue to mobilise a trusted community of leaders together with core partners - SAP, Bayer Foundation, Motsepe Foundation, GHR Foundation, Porticus, Deloitte, Microsoft and Catalyst 2030, that acts and learns together so that social entrepreneurs can flourish.

Contact us to get involved.

2. ACT-Accelerator facing funding gap

A global initiative to get COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines to poorer nations has only received 5% of the donations sought to deliver on its aims this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other aid groups.

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator budgeted $23.4 billion for its efforts from October 2021 to September 2022, of which it hoped $16.8 billion would come in the form of grants from richer countries.

However, so far it has had just $814 million pledged, leaders of the initiative told a media briefing on Tuesday. "That's just a minuscule 5% of what we require. It is time to awaken the conscience of the world,” said the WHO's Global Ambassador for Health Financing, Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister.

Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO official who acts as coordinator for the initiative, said it was stuttering due to a lack of funds.

"The global response is running on fumes," he said.

3. Discovery of Omicron in New York deer raises concerns

The discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in white-tailed deer in New York has raised concerns that the species, numbering 30 million in the United States, could become hosts of a new coronavirus strain, a lead researcher said on Tuesday.

Blood and some nasal swab samples from 131 deer captured on New York's Staten Island revealed that nearly 15% had virus antibodies. The finding suggested that the animals had previous coronavirus infections and were vulnerable to repeated reinfections with new variants, researchers led by Pennsylvania State University scientists said.

“Circulation of the virus in an animal population always raises the possibility of getting back to humans, but more importantly it provides more opportunities for the virus to evolve into novel variants,” said Suresh Kuchipudi, a Penn State veterinary microbiologist.

There's no evidence though that animals are transmitting the virus to humans.

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