• 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: International Day of Epidemic Preparedness declared; Germany warns of tighter restrictions; California increases measures.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 67.6 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 1.54 million.

Greece has said it will not re-open schools, restaurants or courts until 7 January. A nationwide lockdown was first introduced in November, and extended twice since.

Canada is set to receive its first does of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine before the end of the year.

Japan’s household spending rose in October for the first time in over a year. The news came as the government announced a fresh $708 billion economic stimulus package.

Western Australia has begun to allow travellers from Victoria and New South Wales to enter without quarantining for the first time in 8 months.

Hong Kong is set to impose further restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on dining in restaurants after 6pm.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared that 27 December will be the ‘International Day of Epidemic Preparedness’ in a bid to ensure lessons are learned for future health crisis.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that studies show us “most of the world’s population remains susceptible to infection with the COVID-19 virus.”

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.

2. Merkel warns of tougher restrictions

She told party colleagues “the situation is getting very serious: these measures will not be enough to get us through winter”.

Bars and restaurants are currently closed, with shops admitting limited numbers. Bavarian leader Markus Soeder said he was certain tighter restrictions would be agreed before Christmas.

Some states – including Bavaria – have already introduced their own, heightened, restrictions.

3. California introduces new restrictions

Restaurants in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley have been forced to close, except for takeaway and delivery, as part of new measures introduced by California state governor, Gavin Newsom.

Playgrounds have also been closed, stores operating at reduced capacity and hair salons and barbershops closed.

The rules apply to places where fewer than 15% of intensive-care hospital beds remain available, so far affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. Localities in the San Francisco Bay Area imposed similar orders.

Some schools remain open, but Los Angeles Unified School District closed campuses that had been partially open to offer in-person services and tutoring.

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