COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 25 October

  • 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: Confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 20 million in eastern Europe; US FDA says benefits outweigh risks for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children; Cases hit levels last seen in July in Britain.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 243.6 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.94 million. More than 6.84 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Urgent action is needed to support Papua New Guinea amid a surge in COVID-19 cases which threatens to overwhelm the country’s health system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has warned.

New Zealand has reported its second-highest tally of new daily COVID-19 cases – 109 – since the start of the pandemic.

Officials in Australia are planning a roll-out of COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence in cases.

It comes as the city of Melbourne announced plans to ease more curbs when its home state of Victoria reaches an 80% vaccination rate.

Britain has recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since July over the past week, government figures have shown.

China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak is likely to spread further, a health official said yesterday, with authorities urging regions to step up monitoring and called for a reduction in travel between provinces.

South Korea announced on Saturday that it has achieved its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people.

Russia reported 1,075 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, its fifth straight record day.

Germany recorded the highest incidence of COVID-19 infections since mid-May on Saturday, reaching the threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 in the past seven days that used to be the yardstick for imposing a strict lockdown.

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. COVID-19 cases pass 20 million in eastern Europe

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in eastern Europe passed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally. The region is currently dealing with its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

Countries in the region also have among the lowest vaccination rate in Europe, with less than half the population having received a single dose, Reuters reports.

New infections in the region have steadily risen and now average over 83,700 new cases per day, the highest level since November last year, Reuters data through Friday showed. Although it has just 4% of the world’s population, eastern Europe accounts for roughly 20% of all new cases reported globally.

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. US FDA says benefits outweigh risks for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children

Scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that the likely benefits of giving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds clearly outweigh the risks of rare cases of heart inflammation.

The vaccine makers had announced earlier that day that their shot showed 90.7% efficacy against the disease in a clinical trial of children in that age group.

The details were in briefing documents published ahead of a meeting of a panel of outside experts scheduled to vote on Tuesday whether to recommend the FDA authorize the shots for the young age group.

If the FDA authorizes the Pfizer/BioNTech immunization for children 5 to 11 years old, it would be the first COVID-19 vaccine for the age group and shots could be available in the United States in early November.