Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world overnight.
The Delta coronavirus variant of concern, first identified in India, is believed to be 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in Britain, a prominent UK epidemiologist said on Wednesday.
Britain reported six new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday and a further 7540 cases of the disease, official government data showed. That compared to 13 deaths and 6048 cases reported a day earlier.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was too early to say if England's lockdown can end on June 21 as data on whether the vaccine rollout offers enough protection from the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant is still being assessed.
Six more Brits died of the virus.
Italy reported 77 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday against 102 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 2199 from 1896.
Former Baywatch TV star David Hasselhoff is appearing in a video released by the German health ministry calling on people to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The video makes a play on Hasselhoff's 1989 Looking for Freedom album, which was popular in Germany after its title song became a soundtrack for the fall of the Berlin Wall.
"Aermel hoch! ("Sleeves up!"), Hasselhoff says in German in the video released on Monday that had already been viewed on Twitter almost 200,000 times by Wednesday.
Authorities in Moscow said on Wednesday they would step up enforcement of rules requiring people to wear medical masks and gloves in indoor public spaces due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Russian capital.
Russia on Wednesday reported 10,407 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its highest number of daily infections since early March. In Moscow, there were 4124 infections, creeping past the 4,000 mark for the first time since mid-January..
Ukraine's health ministry will propose that the government maintains lockdown restrictions for the summer, health minister said.
Australia's second largest city Melbourne will exit a COVID-19 hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, Victoria state authorities said, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings would likely remain for another week.
People must stay within 25km of their homes, officials said, in an effort to stop transmission during an upcoming long weekend. There will also be a total ban on house gatherings and masks will be mandatory indoors.
Japan is leaning towards allowing domestic spectators at the Tokyo Olympics despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with organisers planning to monitor the movements of foreign media to prevent spread of the virus.
Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness.
There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa, the health ministry said in emailed statement on Wednesday.
India on Wednesday reported 92,596 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, and 2219 deaths from the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has shaken up the Economist Intelligence Unit's annual ranking of most liveable cities, propelling Auckland to first place, replacing Vienna, which crashed out of the top 10 as the island nations of New Zealand, Australia and Japan fared best.
If the spread of COVID-19 continues at current rates it will be years before the virus is controlled in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday, as it called for countries to share excess vaccine doses.
A Wisconsin pharmacist who pleaded guilty to trying to spoil hundreds of doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine because he was sceptical about them has been jailed for three years, the US Justice Department said on Tuesday.
Canada on Wednesday took a cautious first step toward easing COVID-19 border restrictions, saying it was prepared to relax quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated citizens returning home starting in early July.
Haiti is grappling with its first serious outbreak, but is one of only a handful of countries worldwide that has yet to administer a single shot of coronavirus vaccine.
Last week, two of the main hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in capital Port-au-Prince announced they were saturated.
The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses to about 100 countries over the next two years, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The European Union and the United States are set to agree at a summit on Tuesday to reduce export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines and drugs, a draft joint text says, arguing that voluntary sharing of technology is the key to boosting output.
The document, seen by Reuters and still subject to changes, makes no mention of mandatory waivers on vaccine patents, which US President Joe Biden has endorsed as a temporary solution to the global shortage of COVID-19 shots. The EU has repeatedly opposed the idea, which is backed by dozens of poorer nations.
A study of side effects following vaccination with AstraZeneca's anti-COVID-19 shot in Scotland found only an association with a largely harmless bleeding condition and no link to brain clots, underscoring the rarity of potential complications.
Merck said on Wednesday the US government has agreed to pay about US$1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 treatment, if it is proven to work in an ongoing large trial and authorised by US regulators.
The oral antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, aims to stop COVID-19 from progressing and can be given early in the course of the disease, similar to Tamiflu to treat influenza. The treatment course being tested in the trial is an oral dose given every 12 hours for five days.
The European Union and the United States are set to commit at a summit in Brussels next week to call for progress on a new study into the origins of COVID-19, according to a draft communique. At the Brussels summit, both sides will agree to cooperate on China policy and call for a new study into origins of the pandemic, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the draft said.
The two prevailing theories are that the virus jumped from animals, possibly bats, to humans, or that it escaped from a virology laboratory in Wuhan. Members of a WHO team that visited China this year to investigate COVID-19's origin said they were not given access to all data.
More than 47,000 live animals were for sale in markets in Wuhan in the two-and-a-half years before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the city in late 2019, new research showed, highlighting the risks of disease from China's wildlife trade.
Reuters / Newshub.