- 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 stories: COVAX deliver one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses; Beijing introduces new entry rules; US CDC adjusts mask-wearing guidance.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 328.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.53 million. More than 9.65 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
The French parliament has given final approval to the government's latest COVID-19 measures, including a vaccine pass.
Nepal has begun giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. It comes as daily confirmed cases jumped by 4,961 on Sunday - the biggest 24-hour increase in more than six months.
The number of COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals has fallen week-on-week for the first time since the Omicron variant drove cases to record highs.
Australia's daily COVID-19 cases fell below 100,000 on Sunday for the first time in five days.
Thailand has reported its first death from the Omicron COVID-19 variant, a health official announced yesterday.
England has extended its COVID-19 vaccine booster programme to include 16- and 17-year-olds.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its guidance for Americans on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, recommending using 'the most protective mask you can' while stopping short of advocating nationwide usage of N95 respirators.
Iran has reported its first three deaths from the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The Philippine health ministry confirmed the local spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant around Manila on Saturday, as infections hit a record high for a third straight day.
What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?
The COVID Response Alliance to Social Entrepreneurs - soon to continue its work as the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship - was launched in April 2020 in response to the devastating effects of the pandemic. Co-founded by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship together with Ashoka, Echoing Green, GHR Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and Yunus Social Business.
The Alliance provides a trusted community for the world’s leading corporations, investors, governments, intermediaries, academics, and media who share a commitment to social entrepreneurship and innovation.
Since its inception, it has since grown to become the largest multi-stakeholder coalition in the social enterprise sector: its 90+ members collectively support over 100,000 social entrepreneurs across the world. These entrepreneurs, in turn, have a direct or indirect impact on the lives of an estimated 2 billion people.
Together, they work to (i) mobilize support for social entrepreneurs and their agendas; (ii) take action on urgent global agendas using the power of social entrepreneurship, and (iii) share insights from the sector so that social entrepreneurs can flourish and lead the way in shaping an inclusive, just and sustainable world.
The Alliance works closely together with member organizations Echoing Green and GHR Foundation, as well as the Centre for the New Economy and Society on the roll out of its 2022 roadmap (soon to be announced).
2. COVAX shares one billionth COVID-19 vaccine dose
COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing facility - has delivered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, one of the organizations which manages it said on Saturday.
Supplies to poorer nations have long been limited because of lack of vaccines, as wealthier states secured most of the doses initially available from December 2020.
But in the last quarter shipments have exponentially increased, allowing COVAX to reach the milestone of 1 billion doses shipped to 144 countries, said Gavi, which co-leads the programme alongside the World Health Organization (WHO).
Despite the recent surge in deliveries, vaccine inequity remains high. The latest WHO data shows 67% of the population in richer nations have been fully vaccinated, compared with only 5% in poorer nations. Over 40% of the world's population has not yet received a first dose.
Gavi is seeking more funds to reach the WHO's goal of vaccinating 70% of the population in poorer nations by July.
3. Beijing tightens entry rules after Omicron case
Beijing will require travellers to get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in the Chinese capital, state media announced on Sunday, a day after the city reported its first Omicron case and as it readies to stage the Winter Olympics next month.
On Saturday, the city reported the first local infection of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, involving a person who had visited multiple malls and restaurants in the previous 14 days. The person had not left the city since the start of this year
The new rule, effective from 22 January to end-March, is aimed to help with early detection of Omicron, which is surging globally, and the control of epidemic risks, Beijing Daily, a government newspaper, said on its official social media account.
Already, the capital city requires inbound travellers to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of departure for the city and have a green code on the city's health tracking app.