Hello and welcome to our rolling live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world for the next few hours.
You can get in touch with me on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned the city will fall short of its inoculation goals unless it can get more vaccine.
The mayor said short supplies were hampering New York City’s efforts to increase its immunisation campaign. His appeal comes as the country as a whole struggles to meet an overall goal, with vaccinations now running far behind a target of 20 million people by now.
Meanwhile the world has for the first time recorded more than 17,000 deaths in one day, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the global total nears 2 million.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- New Covid-19 lockdown in Portugal to come into force from Friday. A new lockdown to bring a worrying rise in coronavirus cases under control will come into force in Portugal from Friday, prime minister António Costa announced, urging people to stay indoors and protect themselves.
- New York pleads for more Covid-19 vaccine as daily US death toll hits record. As the United States recorded its highest single-day death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began, New York mayor Bill de Blasio on said the city would fall short of its inoculation goals unless it could get more vaccine.
- UK passes 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus. More than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in the UK since the disease first appeared in the country almost a year ago. Public health experts have said it is a sign of “phenomenal failure of policy and practice”.
- African Union secures 270m Covid-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers. The African Union has secured a provisional 270m Covid-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers for member states to supplement the Covax programme, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said.
- Cuba suspends schools and public transport as it grapples with coronavirus surge. The Cuban government is once more shutting down schools, public transport and cultural activities across swathes of the Caribbean island during its worst outbreak of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
- Spain reports 38,869 new cases, its highest single-day rise in infections. The country also recorded 195 further deaths, while the number of cases per 100,000 people rose from 452 to 493.
- Unilever workers will never return to desks full-time, says boss. The boss of Unilever, one of the UK’s biggest companies, has said his office workers will never return to their desks five days a week, in the latest indication that coronavirus will transform modern working life.
- Switzerland brings in tough measures to head off threat of third wave. Switzerland announced tough new restrictions Wednesday in a pre-emptive strike against a feared third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by quicker-spreading variants of the virus.